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National Associate Lecturers in Languages Conference Part 1, Klaus-Dieter Rosdade

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I was at the NALLC conference this weekend and found it an interesting and worthwhile occasion.

The first talk was by Klaus-Dieter Rosade.  He emphasised the joy of language learning and also argued that there is a clear link between the senses and language learning.  For example, he described how he had strong associations between smells he associated with Mexico (eg corn tortillas and beans) and the Spanish language.  At first, I felt sceptical about this as the smells are associated with countries rather than languages but perhaps there is a sensory link between certain smells and certain varieties of languages.  For example, I would associate certain smells with Qinghai province in China - perhaps chilli and mutton and different smells with Guangzhou - perhaps soya and oyster sauce and a more vegetal smell.  This might link to the different languages and varieties of Chinese spoken in these places.

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Minority languages and dialects

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 12:00

I recently revisted two places and I had contrasting impressions of the ways that minority languages were/were not being maintained.

The first place was Guangzhou, which I had first visited in 1987.  At that time, it seemed very much dominated by Guangzhou dialect rather than Putonghua.  Now, it seems that the Guangzhou dialect is heard less although it is common in some contexts like restaurants.

The second place was Toulouse where I was struck by the use of dual dialect road signs and underground announcements althhough I did not hear much dialect use in the streets.  Perhaps my experience was too limited as I doubt there would be such a promotion if there was not much use of or interest in the language.

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