No English here, please – we’re Indian!

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After my last post on whether English is losing its position as the lingua franca, it was fascinating to hear that India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, wants Hindi to be more prominent in India and has ordered civil servants to use it on Facebook and ...

Will English lose out as the lingua franca?

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16th century Holy Roman Emperor Charles V apparently said that he spoke Latin with God, Italian with musicians, Spanish with his troops, German with lackeys, French with ladies and - wait for it - English with his horses! Obviously, he would not have believed it possible ...

Are dying languages worth saving?

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I was thinking about this over the weekend, when I listened to Any Questions on BBC Radio 4 (guaranteed to get my blood boiling for all sorts of reasons!) The last question was about whether it is necessary or desirable for the Welsh government to spend ...

Can you learn a language in three months?

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I was listening to Midweek on Radio 4 last week and was fascinated by a guy called Benny Lewis, who says he couldn't speak any foreign languages when he left school but now speaks ten, including Mandarin, Arabic, Portuguese and Hungarian! I don't think he means he can ...

Running for a bath

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For Christmas, I was given four books about running, including Mo Farah's autobiography, and a calendar with a peel-off witty or motivational aphorism for each day, such as 'pain is just weakness leaving your body' or 'running requires a strong body and a sick mind!'. And ...