Can language ever be gender-neutral?

Recent news that the German Justice Ministry is pushing for the German language to be made more ‘gender neutral’ will probably bring a sigh of relief to us German-learners the world over. Don’t get me wrong, I love German, but years of grappling with genders (a girl is ‘it’, whilst a table is ‘he’ and a … Read more

Languages for the future: the top ten

A recent report by the British Council has laid out the ten most important languages for the UK’s future, in political, economic, educational and cultural terms. According to the report, the ten most important languages, in order, are: Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese. I read this list with a … Read more

Beware false friends

Learning a new language is a great experience: familiarising yourself with a new culture, discovering a new way to express yourself, and hopefully enabling yourself to order a beer in one more country. However, as a language-learner, you also need to be aware of the pitfalls that await you. The dreaded ‘false friends’ that lurk … Read more