Blog - Elizabeth Lake

Bilingualism and Autism

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Languages around the world, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Recent Canadian research has shown that bilingual children with autism can more easily switch between tasks than those who only speak one language. Children between the ages of 6 and 9 in Montreal were asked to sort objects on a screen in different ways, and found that bilingual autistic children “performed significantly better” in the more complex part of the test. Further research is being carried out now with younger children.

Online tuition

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Tuition, Uncategorized Leave a comment

It is now possible to receive online tuition thanks to a new programme I am using called Electa.  I have already had some lessons with students who live further away and those who can’t get here for whatever reason.  It is good to have this option for occasions such as bad weather disruption, car problems or other incidents which would otherwise mean a cancelled lesson.  The programme is very versatile and can allow you to continue your French, Spanish, Italian, German or English lessons providing you have a computer, a microphone and headphones.  I am looking forward to using this method with new students and am excited about the possibilities this offers.

Fun fact of the day

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Languages around the world, Uncategorized Leave a comment

A Welsh MP threatened to fast to death in 1980 if Welsh was not accorded reasonable rights.  In Wales now, all public bodies are required to offer bilingual services, including communication with the public by letter, telephone, email and websites.  More and more private institutions are adopting a similar approach, even when not required to by law.  Bilingual signage is now virtually universal.

Gender of words

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Translation & Interpreting, Tuition Leave a comment

A new word has entered our vocabulary in recent months – Brexit.  It seems our European neighbours are also using this word, but as we know, nouns in other languages are masculine or feminine (in some languages even neuter).  So what about in this case?  Well, it would seem French and German has decided it should be masculine, as has Spanish, whereas Italian has opted for feminine.  This could be because the word ‘exit’ is ‘uscita’ in Italian which is also feminine, or maybe it just sounds better with ‘la’ rather than ‘il’.  Or maybe you have some theories of your own?


Children and language

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Children Lessons, Tuition Leave a comment

I have been amazed lately at how well the children I teach are doing.  Many of my older students often tell me learning a language is harder the older you get (though never let that put you off!).  I have the privilege of teaching some quite young children and am so pleased their parents are encouraging them to learn while they are still little.  At this age, they are not embarrassed and they learn through play; just as they take in knowledge about the world around them, another language adds to their education.  If they can enjoy themselves and say a few words in French or Spanish, even before properly understanding where France and Spain are (or indeed other countries in the world where these languages are spoken) this will be a good foundation for them as they get older and learn a language in school.  It will also help with their literacy skills and communication development in their own language.  We have been told for years that children are like sponges and absorb new information so readily,

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Coffee in Italy

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How many cups of coffee have you already drunk so far today while you have been at work?  It seems coffee is becoming more and more popular in our country, yet it is also a drink that is enjoyed in many countries, with its many variations!

Maybe the English have been better known for offering someone a cup of tea, nevertheless the rise of coffee shops on the high street is an indication of shifting habits.  It amuses me when I ask for an ‘espresso’ in this country I am often told “you realise that is a little coffee and it is very strong?” Read more

Twelfth night

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Children in Italy will have woken up to the sight of sweets in a shoe – the Befana came during the night!  This is in addition to the Christmas presents they will have received on the 25th December, lucky children!  Over in Spain, on the other hand, children will have received presents from the three kings, following a night of celebrations in the towns, with processions, music and much more.  In France, people will be busy baking a special type of cake (called a ‘galette’) containing a figure, which when found, allows the recipient to ‘be a king’ for the day.  Many different countries have their own way of celebrating the end of the Christmas season.  It is interesting to research these different customs and their origins.  Throughout the year each country will celebrate different events for different reasons.  Watch this space to learn more as the year goes on…

Winter is coming

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Tuition Leave a comment

The summer holidays seem a distant memory now.  It won’t be long before we are encouraged to book next year’s trip, however.  Perhaps you have already got a few ideas of where to go?  Maybe you are lucky enough to be able to escape the drab days here and go in search of sun in exotic locations now.  Or maybe you like a skiing holiday or are heading off to the Christmas markets in Europe.  There is always a time when speaking another language comes in handy, whatever the season.  Perhaps you are stuck on what to get your loved one for Christmas?  Well why not a voucher for language lessons?  Either for help with those GCSEs coming up or to learn a few phrases before the summer holidays are upon us…Is distance a problem?  Or time?  Skype lessons are also a possibility.  Whatever your requirements, we look forward to hearing from you!

Chinese Challenges

Posted on by Elizabeth Lake in Translation & Interpreting Leave a comment

There are currently some 1.3 billion Chinese speakers in the world.  China is growing and developing business relationships with the west, therefore Chinese to English and English to Chinese translation services are being requested more and more. At the same time, however, Chinese translations present a few specific challenges; unlike European languages, Chinese is based on characters rather than letters. Each Chinese character can mean more than one thing and often has subtle connotations as well. Translating documents into Chinese or from Chinese into English requires a vast vocabulary as well as a good knowledge of Chinese culture. It is therefore important to select a professional translator, in order to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

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Unspoilt Umbria

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Another beautiful region in Italy is Umbria.  Its green countryside is to be admired as you drive through medieval towns on the hilltops, where you can take in the art and architecture.  Todi is but one example, also Orvieto and Spoleto, not forgetting the beautiful Perugia.

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