May 2012 e-bulletin - LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

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News Bulletin

Dear colleague,  

Welcome to the LLAS e-bulletin for May 2012. Click here to see this email on the LLAS website.

Message from the Director 

Far-reaching changes in the economic and social environment are emerging more clearly every day. Almost every aspect of them requires greater understanding of the languages, cultures and societies of Europe and the wider world. Every aspect requires the contribution of academic specialists and well-educated graduates in our subject areas. There are some signs of dawning recognition among government ministers, who have noted that Britain is in danger of losing influence in the world if we lack language capability. Similarly, business leaders are speaking more often about the value of linguistic and intercultural skills for successful enterprise. In higher education, every month brings a new rash of conferences devoted to the promotion of international strategies. Surprisingly, though, these events still pay relatively little attention to the linguistic or cultural dimensions of the process. Similarly, in institutions, international mission statements are being developed and specialist infrastructures are being strengthened to support them. But university departments of languages, cultures and area studies have only recently begun to gain recognition for the contribution they can make to increasing the international capability of their institution. We are very aware that much more needs to be done if universities are to value the assets that our subject areas bring. LLAS will therefore continue to support the academic community to intervene more effectively in this area, working with key partners including subject associations, the HE Academy and the funding bodies. 

Mike Kelly (follow Mike on Twitter at @ProfMikeKelly)
Director, LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies

This month's e-bulletin in brief

  • In the news
  • LLAS blog: Residence Abroad, Liz Hudswell
  • LLAS Why study languages? calendar FREE download - May 2012
  • IN FOCUS Language Futures: Languages in Higher Education 2012 - 5 & 6 July, Edinburgh
    Our events programme in full can be found at  

In the news

New language teaching resources from the FAVOR project
The FAVOR project is being run by LLAS and is working with hourly-paid language tutors to publish and share their work as open content for other teachers to use and adapt. Over 150 different resources have now been published on the LanguageBox in languages including: Spanish, Slovak, Finnish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Hungarian, German, Estonian, Latvian and Italian. All resources are freely available for download and editing. The LanguageBox is an open community site, so register an account today to be part of the open movement in languages!

New *free* resources for Italian
Alessia Plutino, from the University of Southampton, has produced a selection of interactive online activities for the teaching of Italian at university. These were created using the LOC tool and are available for use and download from: . If you wish to learn how to create your own activities using the LOC tool, our next workshop is on 4th July. See our website for details at :

Foreign Language Assistants in schools across the UK
You can sign up for a Foreign Language Assistant until September 2012!  Schools all over the UK can register for a Foreign Language Assistant online at :

You can share the cost of your Assistant with up to two other schools and British Council can support and advise you through the application process. Foreign Language Assistants are native language speakers from 18 countries who will support excellent teaching and learning in languages, culture, employability skills and whole school cross curricular work.

For further information, please go to the website or email

Thinking in a Foreign Language Makes Decisions More Rational
To judge a risk more clearly, it may help to consider it in a foreign language.

A series of experiments on more than 300 people from the U.S. and Korea found that thinking in a second language reduced deep-seated, misleading biases that unduly influence how risks and benefits are perceived.

“Would you make the same decisions in a foreign language as you would in your native tongue?” asked psychologists led by Boaz Keysar of the University of Chicago in an April 18 Psychological Science study.

Read the full article :

HEFCE’s new policy on Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subjects (SIVs)
HEFCE has now published its new policy approach to SIVs which includes modern languages.  The funding council is inviting views on its approach through its consultation on teaching funding.  Go to to find out more.  The deadline for responses to the consultation is 25 May 2012.  


LLAS blog 

Residence Abroad. Liz Hudswell, LLAS

As the number of applicants to modern languages degree programmes is causing some concern, the question is inevitably asked, 'is it the cost of a four year degree progeramme which is discouraging applicants?'

Most of us are convinced of the immense value of the year abroad, so too are employers and students who return to the university after what mahy of them descirbe as'the best year of my life'. Indeed students at the University of Edinburgh...

Click here for the full post

LLAS Why study languages? calendar 

FREE calendar download: This calendar, for the month of May 2012, in Persian, was produced by LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies. It was created with help from teachers working on the JISC-funded Community Cafe project. Look out for another language next month Quiz questions and answers are also included. This is the eighth of a 16-month series lasting until Dec 2012. Please visit : You can find all months so far at

Hard copies available to purchase: This is the fourth year that the popular ‘Why Study Languages?’ calendar has been produced. The January-December 2012 calendar features 12 languages, one per month. Languages featured this year include: Icelandic, Gaelic, Urdu, Spanish, Persian, French, Punjabi, Estonian, Malay, Hungarian, Welsh and German.

The calendar is available for FREE, with a charge of £3.50 for postage and packing. Funding from JISC has made this possible. For more information, please go to

Forthcoming events in the LLAS community

MAY 2012

Unleashing the Creative Spirit : Integrating Film making into Literature Teaching
11 May 2012 - University of Sheffield

Collaborative working using open research data to create Open Educational Resources in the humanities
23 May 2012 - University of Southampton

The Year Abroad: Maximising and promoting its real value
23 May 2012 - University of Strathclyde

JUNE 2012

Teaching in higher education through the medium of English
18 - 22 June 2012 - University of Southampton

Open Educational Resources as a vehicle for digital literacy in the humanities
29 June 2012 - University of Southampton

JULY 2012

Teaching in higher education through the medium of English
2 July - 6 July, 2012 - University of Southampton

The LOC tool for teachers : authoring your own online learning materials
4 July  - University of Southampton

IN FOCUS Language Futures: Languages in Higher Education conference 2012
5-6 July 2012 -  University of Edinburgh

Language Futures is the sixth biennial conference organised by LLAS, UCML and AULC. This year, the conference will address five key themes relating to the current and emerging landscape of languages in education:

  • Engaging with policy
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Graduate skills and employability
  • Internationalisation and mobility
  • Transition into higher education

For the first time this year, the conference will include an exhibition with various organisations such as the European Commission, The Institute of Linguists, The Goethe Institut Glasgow, Hodder, Editions Hatier and more. 

Remember that you can apply for the HEA UK travel fund to attend this event. To find out more, visit the
HEA website or download the application form here

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LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies 
University of Southampton | Avenue Campus | Southampton | SO17 1BJ 
p: +44 (0) 23 8059 4814 | f: +44 (0) 23 8059 4815 |


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