Happy Saint Valentine´s Day cartooning contest

We´d like to share with you the best Saint Valentine´s comic strips. There you have Jury´s choice and winner.

Comic strips exhibition

A veces el cielo, otras infierno
First Place
Impossible Love
Best Humor submission
Un ojo enamorado
The most unique submission
Amor Salvaje
The best computer submission
Impossible Love
The most impossible love

We´ve enjoyed so much reading your comic strips. We really appreciate your effort and we hope you will take part in future art events.

Thank you all for your wonderful works.

The Art Department

Learning languages is as easy as pie

Our school offers our students English and French. This year we have started a German workshop and the students are very motivated (there is even a waiting list). In the past we had Giuliana, a Comenius teacher students, and could offer Italian lessons. Students also study Classical Greek and Latin. So why do most people say that learning a foreign language is difficult? What problems do most of our students have while struggling or fighting with English or French?

Your teachers would like to know your opinions. Talk to them! Today’s video comes from the BBC and displays a 20-year-old university student who is fluent (meaning ‘he can talk properly’) in 11 different foreign languages. The languages he can speak are not easy at all: Greek, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Afrikaans, even Catalan…

You can watch the video from the BBC website here.

Your teachers expect you will find the video and his example inspiring… In the future we should try to be able to speak at least two languages and our mother tongue. And believe it or not, most young people in other European countries do already…

International Mother Language Day

21st February is International Mother Language Day. It celebrates linguistic diversity and multilingualism since 2000.

Some interesting facts:

  • There are approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world.
  • 6% of the world’s languages are spoken by 94% of the world’s population
  • 94 per cent of the world languages are spoken by only a 6 per cent of the world’s population.
  • Some experts predict that by the year 2011 90 per cent of the world’s languages will have disappeared.
  • The largest single language by population is Mandarin (845 million speakers) followed by Spanish (329 million speakers) and English (328 million speakers).
  • 133 languages are spoken by fewer than 10 people.
  • Every 14 days a language dies.
Several university scholars are trying to preserve the 479 most endangered languages and are using video and audio recorders to save memories of minority languages such the Koro or the Yuchi languages.
Here you can find out more about the National Geographic project Enduring Voices. It is absolutely stunning to discover how many unknown languages are still being spoken today!
If you want to find out more, you can also listen to Professor David Crystal on language death:
David Crystal’s excellent book on Language Death is available here as a pdf.
Do you still complain about having to study English, German or French? 🙂

Charles Dickens – 200th Birthday

Last week was the 200th Birthday of Charles Dickens; a very famous English writer from the Victorian era.

Dickens was born on February 7th 1812, in Portsmouth, England, to a poor family. They were so poor that he was only able to go to school until he was 9 years old. His father got into bad debt and Dickens was sent to work in a factory. Dickens worked in the factory for three years without his family and under extremely bad conditions, which made him very unhappy and depressed.

The experience of living this hard, working-class life was the inspiration for the themes of many of his novels, in particular the very famous ‘David Copperfield’.

In 1833 his first story was published in Monthly Magazine as a monthly instalment. The stories were very popular and left readers ‘on the edge of their seats’ waiting for the next part of the story.

His use of prose soon won praise by critics and his ability to create memorable characters made him a must-read author; a title that out-lived Dickens himself. The fact that none of his works have ever gone out of print shows how popular his novels and short stories are.

Dickens married Catherine Hogarth on 2nd April, 1836, and ended up having ten children with her. Charles Dickens died on 9th June, 1870 after suffering a stroke. He was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads:

“He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”

Charles Dickens published many major novels, a large number of short stories (including a number of Christmas-themed stories), a handful of plays, and several non-fiction books, including:
• The Adventures of Oliver Twist
• The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
• The Old Curiosity Shop
• Barnaby Rudge
• A Christmas Carol
• Dombey and Son
• David Copperfield
• Bleak House
• Hard Times: For These Times
• Little Dorrit
• A Tale of Two Cities
• Great Expectations