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Posts in Training

Language tips from the Dulwich Boys

A fascinating BBC article yesterday told the story of the “The Dulwich Boys” – a group of, well, boys pressed into service by the British War Office to learn Japanese in a hurry when Japan invaded Pearl Harbour in 1942. Because “learning exotic languages [had not been] a priority for imperial Britain in the 1930s”,

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Impacts and effects: an affecting tale

So Michael Gove has apparently been using his new position as Justice Secretary to dash off memos to civil servants about the use of English, has he? The BBC has chosen to comment in particular on his exhortation to avoid the use of “impact” as a verb; for example, “But how will these policies impact

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Sweat the smalls stuff, Chinese-style

There’s someone washing her knickers in my bathroom. I’ve politely explained that our washing machine handles underwear just as well as it does the big stuff, but she has equally politely pointed out in response that this is “a question of hygiene”. Er, OK. At least she’s left the door open so that the children

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Leigh Halfpenny’s close shave (or not)

Would you pay a fortune hiring a world-renowned star performer for your team and then leave him to fend for himself in a new world he doesn’t fully understand? We’ve blogged on exactly this subject before, but evidence continues to emerge that rugby clubs are just as bad as their footy counterparts when it comes

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Zuckerberg’s Great Wall of cynicism?

So the BBC are being their usual snarky selves about Mark Zuckerberg’s latest Mandarin exploit – a Chinese New Year speech in, yes, Chinese. Rather than lauding Zuck’s obvious linguistic achievement, Auntie chooses to lead with the insinuation that the whole thing was little more than a publicity stunt to butter up a country in

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