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News on Learning, Translations & Languages





We give you an insight into what's happening in the language and translation field. Universities all over the world are studying how our brain works to give us a clue to better methods of learning languages.
This page is constantly updated with new links. Take a tour and browse our selection.


The human brain


The Learning Brain

It is known that our brain is an amazing piece of engineering. To use it to its best we need to know a few tips on how it works.


What happens during the learning process?


Why does the brain switch off sometimes?


How does stress affect the brain?


Keep your brain in good shape by having a healthy diet, do some exercise, drink plenty of water and more importantly create the best conditions for learning. All you need to know in 7 min, click the image to start the video.

English is the language of science

Research written and published in English awarded with Nobel Prize.


Nobel Prize awarded for work published in English

"If you look around the world in 1900, and someone told you, 'Guess what the universal language of science will be in the year 2000', you would first of all laugh at them. It was obvious that no one language would be the language of science, but a mixture of French, German and English would be the right answer."

Historian of science Michael Gordin explains why the awarded Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser wrote in the language of Dickens and Twain rather than Ibsen and Hamsun.

BBC News

Catalina de Aragón

Catherine was only 16 when she married Arthur, Prince of Wales.


Catherine, Queen of England

It's not surprising that the popularity of the 'Spanish Queen' is increasing in England as the BBC broadcasts 'Wolf Hall', a TV series about the intriguing life of King Henry VIII.

According to this article, the number of visits to the tomb in Peterborough Cathedral, where Catherine is buried, has increased substantially.

Practise your Spanish vocabulary by reading the article about this piece of history and practise your listening skills by watching a short video.

El Mundo | Cultura

Your favourite European city

Quiz in Spanish. Which European city would suit you better?


Where to live in Europe?

Do you love hot or cold weather? Do you enjoy going to parties or living in peace and quiet? Art or technology? Fish or meat?

According to the quiz, Stockholm is the European city for me (you probably don't know that I am a cold weather lover). For now I am very happy in England. Sweden will be a place to visit in the future and see how I feel there.

Practise your Spanish by answering the questions on this short quiz and discover which is the best European city for you according to Pandemicquiz.


European satelites

European Space Agency Project


La Europa cósmica cumple 50 años

Practise your Spanish listening skills by watching the video about the project of the European Space Agency.

El pasado 12 de noviembre, un robot europeo se convirtió en el primer artefacto humano que logra aterrizar sobre la superficie helada de un cometa.

El Mundo


River Tyne

The Millennium Bridge over the Tyne


A magical place in a great city

'One February night a few years ago I found myself standing on the bank of a wide, dark river. Pastel-coloured lights melted across the glossy surface of the water. The rainbow arch of one great bridge was echoed downstream by the blue-green span of another. The glass of great buildings glimmered and a cool wind blew from the east. I felt as I had in other great cities at night - as if I was in a timeless and magical place. It took me some while to reconcile this with the knowledge that I was in Newcastle.'


Read the full article about Newcastle by Harry Pearson.

How does the brain work?

How does the brain work?


The brain rules

If you ever wondered how your brain could be more productive there are a few simple rules that help.

  • The brain requires exercise

  • The brain switches off when it gets bored

  • Repetition reinforces the learning process

  • Learning in multisensory environments has better results

  • Pictures are a powerful tool

  • Stress lowers brain performance

Read the full article


Would you like to know how to learn? Click the picture...


How does the memory work?

Learning something completely new can be tedious or exciting, depending on different factors.


Speed up your learning process by using a few useful tips to memorise and remember.


In my case I became very interested in learning English. Not just grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation but British culture, cuisine, Victorian houses, gardens, celebrations, etc...


Writing things down again and again is my secret to memorising spelling.

Full list of interesting tips


Fragments of the film Dead Poets Society


Robin Williams as an inspiring teacher

I remember watching Dead Poets Society many years ago, after one of my teachers described it as his favourite film.

I can only say that Robin Williams' acting is superb! I've watched the film several times and I will watch it again because I can never get bored of it.

Lucy Townsend in her article 'The real teachers inspired by Dead Poets Society' writes about how the style of teaching seen in the film has motivated over the years real teachers and lecturers.

Read more at BBC website.


JRR Tolkien Documentary Part 1


Old English translated into modern English by JRR Tolkien

The famous author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit completed the translation of Beowulf from Old English (spoken in Anglo-Saxon England before the Norman Conquest) to modern English in 1926 but it remained unpublished until now.

Once he finished the translation, he gave a series of lectures on the subject during his academic career at Oxford.

Read more about the longest epic poem written in Old English on the BBC website.

Watch more documentary videos about Tolkien on YouTube by following this link.


Learning Styles


Do you know what the Learning Styles are?

As a lifelong learner I've developed my own system of learning, and despite a lack of scientific evidence about the different learning styles, we all have one that works better for us.

As a private tutor of the Spanish language I tailored my lessons not only according to the learner's level and preferences, but to their learning style.

Learning Styles have been categorised as: Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Logical-Mathematical, Musical, Naturalistic, Verbal-Linguistic and Visual-Spatial.

Read more about the research, take a quiz to discover more about your particular style and dig deeper reading the results.


Watch the video by clicking the picture


Are you too busy looking down?

We use language to communicate – to socialise and connect with people. Yet in the modern age we live more in the virtual than the real world, with hundreds of ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ who we don’t really know, with whom we engage through ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’.

In this video entitled ‘Look Up’, Gary Turk explores this new, unreal world we increasingly live in, and exhorts us to ‘look up’ from our mobiles and communicate with real people in the real world.


BBC News


Changing brain


Brain and neuroscience

According to brain scans, early childhood is the best time for the brain to develop language skills. A one-year- old baby has up to 50 words of vocabulary, but by the age of six its brain has learned about 5,000 words.

Dr Jonathan O'Muircheartaigh from King's College London has being working on brain circuits associated with language. He recommends initiating children before the age of four when brain development is strongest.

Find out more by reading the full article on the BBC website.


Short film taken from Four Weddings and a Funeral


English politeness and what Britons really mean

Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral is a good example of British politeness.

English politeness is famous all over the world, yet it is sometimes tricky for a foreigner to understand what is really meant. If a British person begins a sentence with the phrase, 'With the greatest respect' s/he may very well mean, 'You're an idiot!'

Have fun with the translation table by Alice Philipson.

The Telegraph


Short film taken from Sherlock Holmes


Sherlock Holmes translated into 160 languages

What is the secret of the success of the series?

Benedict Cumberbatch describes the setting of Sherlock: 'London still remains at the heart of the drama. This includes using iconic locations such as Soho, China Town, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Bridge and everything that modern London life involves – London cabs, the River Thames, traffic jams, mobile phones and computers.'

Read the article by Naomi Roper.


Charles Limb interview


Jazz players' brains see music as language

According to Charles Limb the brain uses the same syntactic areas to process spoken words and improvised musical notes.

The research at Johns Hopkings University's School of Medicine in Baltimore, has tracked brain activity on jazz musicians as the best model to study spontaneous creativity.

Find out more reading the full article at Live Science.


Machine based translations


Are machines good enough for translation?

The short answer is 'no', because languages are too sophisticated. Even Google doesn't develop quickly enough to translate efficiently.

Computer-generated translation can only be used in specific and limited cases because the quality is highly subjective.

Context is key for good translation. Human beings make choices about products and services according to the words that are used to market them.

Read the full article by Nataly Kelly.

Floating Penguin. Native translators at your service,


Can cats really help us to learn?


Learning with cats

Cats give us endless hours of entertainment.

Amusing pictures of cats can also help us remember words and phrases. Instead of memorising lots of information following the traditional system, research has shown that funny photos of cats displaying a phrase were easier to remember.

Imagination and imagery are the key in this learning process.

Read the full article from Carolyn Rice, Technology Reporter.

BBC News


Findings about the Genographic Project


Migration routes starting from 60,000 years ago

Have you have ever wondered who your ancestors are and where you came from originally? Watch a short video about the Genographic Project from National Geographic by clicking the picture aside.

As a result of the mixture of Neanderthal and early modern humans there are traces of Neanderthal DNA in many people living in Europe today. Explore the interactive map in their website, and find out about your origins.

You can discover your family saga by contacting the Genographic Project. For more details click on the picture below.

The National Geographic    


Watch a brief history of English


Starting point locations for the English language

Have you ever wondered how English was born, developed and spread around the globe?

English began in the early fifth century AD in a small island as the language of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes.

The English Project has found 100 important locations that contributed to the transformation and expansion of English as we know it today.

It begins in Suffolk, where it seems the first use of English was found on a piece of jewellery in 475, and ends in Vienna, where a database about English spoken by non-natives has been assembled at the University in order to study trends.

Read the full article on The Telegraph by Jasper Copping.



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