Latest News

A selection of language-related news. Does not claim to be comprehensive or represent the views of SCILT.


The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators

24 September 2021 (Queen's College Oxford)

Registration is now open for the second year of the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators, open to all teachers of French, German, Italian [new this year!], Mandarin and Spanish.

The prize launches this month with ready-made teaching resources designed to be used around European Day of Languages (26 September) and International Translation Day (30 September). The prize is for students of French, German, Italian, Mandarin, or Spanish aged 11-18.

Bringing more international culture into the classroom is a central aim of the prize, and so all texts will be rich in cultural content, and creativity in the translation will be rewarded.

All interested teachers will receive a teaching pack for the first lessons, to be run any time from late September onwards. Following the first lesson, which focuses on translating poetry, teachers will be asked to confirm their registration for two further teaching packs (on translating fiction and non-fiction) and for the competition phase. The competition phase will be open from 21 February to 1 April 2022.

For more information and to register, please see the prize webpage.  


SQA update to Advanced Higher Modern Languages coursework

21 September 2021 (SQA)

The SQA has published Advanced Higher Modern Languages Portfolio Answer Booklets. These can be found under the Coursework section of the SQA's AH Modern Languages webpage.


Evening language courses at Dundee

17 September 2021 (University of Dundee)

Registration for the following year-long courses at the University of Dundee is now open until 27 September 2021:

  • French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and British Sign Language (BSL).

For more information, please visit:

To register please go to:

If you have any queries, please contact: Veronique Malcolm :

New job profile on SCILT's website

20 August 2021 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website demonstrate a range of careers where languages are being used. The latest addition comes from Niall Rachman who tells us how languages help in his work daily and have boosted his confidence and communication skills. Delivering training in a customer-focused role, these skills are incredibly useful.

Teachers, use Niall's profile along with others on our website to highlight the benefits of language learning to your pupils.


Edinburgh Art Festival: Anti-Brexit project sees Auld Lang Syne sung in Gaelic and EU languages

26 July 2021 (The Telegraph)

Concerns have been raised about the politicisation of Edinburgh's arts festivals after an anti-Brexit exhibit was set up with financial backing from the SNP Government.

Auld Lang Syne is to be sung in Gaelic and languages from all 27 EU member states as part of an installation at this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival, which opens on Thursday, in what organisers say is an attempt to “underscore the political concerns” about the UK’s departure.

A choir of recorded voices from across the continent will sing the traditional New Year’s anthem, written by Robert Burns, in an exhibition called ‘Sound of the Union’.


Online language NQ courses with Edinburgh College

18 June 2021 (Edinburgh College)

Higher and Advanced Higher French workshops

With funding from the Franco-Scottish Society, Edinburgh College is pleased to offer free online courses for Higher and Advanced Higher French pupils, which will be delivered from September 2021. Their aim is to provide additional support to pupils who get limited time for speaking practice so that they feel more confident for their speaking exam. Open to any Higher or Advanced Higher French pupil who would benefit from additional input, wherever they are in Scotland.

Follow the appropriate link below for further information and an application form:

Free online language NQ courses for school pupils with Edinburgh College

School pupils who find their chosen language qualification is not offered in their school can study their NQ language course online for free with Edinburgh College. The following options are available:

  • National 5 and Higher: French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Advanced Higher: French and Spanish.
  • Exam arrangements: Though enrolled with Edinburgh College, pupils still sit their exams at their own school (including the Adv Higher speaking exam).

These online courses can be accessed across Scotland and all Scottish school pupils qualify for a full fee waiver.

See the online modern languages course flyer for more information. 

Certificate of Continuing Education (CCEd) in Italian & Spanish

15 June 2021 (University of Strathclyde)

The Certificate of Continuing Education (CCEd) is an intensive beginners’ class that will bring you up to first-year university standard in a year, with the option of continuing your studies into second year and up to university pass degree level within three years. We are currently accepting applications for the next three-year cycle of the Certificate of Continuing Education in Italian (we will also accept applications for direct entry to second year, commencing September 2022, from suitably qualified candidates) and the Certificate of Continuing Education in Spanish which, numbers permitting, will both commence in September 2021.

Follow the appropriate link below to find out more about each of the course options:

Radio Lingua resources

14 May 2021 (Radio Lingua)

This week's round-up of resources from the team at Radio Lingua:

Q and A videos

Each week we are publishing Question and Answer videos, discussing language learning queries from our listeners. This week we talked about the use of Bitte in German, how to apologise in Spanish, Italian possessive adjectives and the phrase ça te dit in French. You can watch all these videos on our YouTube channel here.

Travel Diaries

This week sees us on our fourth episode of our Spanish and German Travel Diaries. Join our Spanish travellers as they head to the wondrous Machu Picchu, while our German tourists reach the historic city of Würzburg. 

Radio Lingua resources

6 May 2021 (Radio Lingua)

Here’s a round up of the latest news from Radio Lingua:


  • Did you have a chance to watch our new Question and Answer video last week? Our latest video about how to form questions in French is sure to be of use to your learners. You can find it on our YouTube channel here and if you have any language questions the team could answer in future videos, simply submit your request here:
  • Our Coffee Break French Facebook page focused on pronunciation last week and how words which have very different spelling are pronounced the same way. Why don’t you use our short gap-fill exercise in which you have to put the words vertverre and vers into 3 sentences with your learners? Click here.


  • Our second episode of the latest Spanish Travel Diaries has now been published and this week our intrepid travellers are in the city of Cuzco. Did you know there is a unique piedra de 12 ángulo there? Find out more about this city here.
  • In our new Spanish Q and A video,  Marina and Mark talk about the various ways to ask for the bill. Which phrases would you normally use?


  • If you are learning or teaching Italian, we are sure you will find our latest short videos helpful, as we take a specific language point and talk it through with our native speaker Francesca. This week’s lesson looks at the difference between giorno and giornata. 
  • Do your learners confuse when to use bene or buono? This Facebook Grammar Activity post gives you the chance to practise in class.


  • The second episode of our new German Travel Diaries series finds us in Cologne. You can find out how Karl and Birgit spent their time in this beautiful city.
  • We shared a post all about Modalpartikel with our German learners on Facebook last week. Modalpartikel are words which add stress to a sentence, but which don’t really change the meaning. This means they can be quite hard to translate. Click here to see some examples of these words being used in sentences

Coffee Break English

We are delighted to announce a new podcast for pre-intermediate learners of English, which is sure to be of use to learners in your schools and the wider school community. You can check out the first three lessons now.

Radio Lingua resources

29 April 2021 (Radio Lingua)

Travel Diaries

We hope you enjoyed the second seasons of both our French and Italian Travel Diaries podcasts which finished last week. However, you can still access our trips round Northern France here,  or join our travellers as they end their trip in Trento here.

It is with much excitement then, that we announce the release of two new Travel Diaries and would love you to join us on season 2 of our Spanish Travel Diaries round western South America. You can listen here as we set off from Lima in Peru. 

Or, you may prefer to join us on a virtual river cruise through Germany and Austria in our German Travel Diaries, as we have also released Season 2 which you can access for free here.

Q and A videos

We have recently launched a new series of Question and Answer videos on your YouTube channel which are sure to be helpful to you and your learners. Our latest videos cover topics from how to say “I miss you” in French, the difference between muy and mucho in Spanish, how to say good luck in German and the differences between potere and riuscire in Italian.

If you have a language query, you can get in touch with us at and we may feature this on a future video. 

Employ a language assistant at your school, college or university

20 April 2021 (British Council)

Bring language and culture to life by hosting a Modern Language Assistant in 2021-22! 

Modern Language Assistants are speakers of French, German, Irish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish who can help students in the UK develop their linguistic and cross-cultural skills. 

Requests for hosting a Modern Language Assistant in 2021-22 close on 30 April 2021 at 23:59 BST.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to apply.


Related Links

How language assistants can transform MFL teaching (TES, 23 March 2021)

Radio Lingua resources

25 March 2021 (Radio Lingua)

Reading Club for Schools

We are continuing to publish a daily French or Spanish Cultural Reading text for schools on our RLN Education Facebook page. We’d love to hear your thoughts on their use in schools so we’ve sent a short questionnaire to all those who signed up.


  • Have you been listening to our brand new episode from Season 2 of the Coffee Break French Travel Diaries? In this episode, our friends spend their final day in Normandy visiting the Abbaye aux Hommes before wandering around the around streets of the city centre. Discover many interesting phrases using the verb être, including être fou de qqch and être inspiré par qqch. We also learn about the difference between en fait, en effet, and au faitListen to the episode here to find out more.
  • As you know Saturday 20th March marked United Nations French Language Day.The day was also marked by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie as being the International Day of La Francophonie, celebrating Francophone culture around the world. To recognise the event, we're taking a look back at our blog post where we share four aspects of québécois French which prove that learning another dialect of a language can be a wonderfully enriching experience. Click here to learn more about some of the differences between phrases you'd hear in France compared to those you might encounter in Quebec, the one province of Canada whose sole official language is French.


  • If you are looking for some challenges for individual pupils, be sure to check out our One Minute Spanish course where they can work independently through this 10 lesson series in short, easy-to-follow video lessons. They can learn just enough Spanish to express themselves in a variety of situations. The course is also the perfect starting point to get a taste of this amazing language. Click here to access all 10 lessons for free over on our YouTube channel.
  • Do your pupils know lots of vocabulary about household chores? In last week’s Spanish vocabulary post on Facebook, we reviewed some words related to just that topic. Do you know how to talk about doing the dishes, ironing, and sweeping the floor in Spanish? It might not be the most appealing type of vocabulary to learn, but it’s definitely useful. Click here to read the full post, including a list of 13 different chores.


  • The adventure continues for Simone and Anna as they they finally make it to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the latest episode of the Coffee Break Italian Travel Diaries, Season 2. Join them as they make the most of the view before having lunch in a mountain retreat while enjoying a bombardino. There's much more food-related vocabulary in this episode as well as some interesting grammar points which Mark and Francesca explore. Click here to listen now .
  • One classic question that all Italian learners are bound to ask at some point in their language-learning journey is ‘what is the difference between essere and stare?’. To help our learners practise the use of these two verbs, we shared a quick gap-fill exercise on Facebook last week, and 40 of our Italian learners had a go at answering. Click here to try it yourself


  • Listening to songs in German is an effective and enjoyable way to practise and develop your language skills. It can help improve your listening comprehension and your pronunciation and, on top of this, music is catchy! This means that the new words, phrases and structures that you hear within a song may be easier to remember and reuse in your own speaking or writing. The only difficulty is that there are an almost infinite number of songs which exist throughout the German-speaking world which can make it difficult to know where to start. In this article, we’ve done the hard work for you as we have found a selection of songs to listen to which will help you practise your German.

Radio Lingua resources

18 March 2021 (Radio Lingua)


  • Our French Travel Diary series continues this week with episode 5 where our friends take a guided Jeep tour of the Normandy landing beaches. From a language point of view, the word dont and the verb accueillir are discussed. You can listen here.
  • In our cultural post on Facebook last week, our French community learned about les 'gibouléesde mars: a weather phenomenon which takes place in France and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere around this time of year. Have you heard this French phrase before? Click here to read more.


  • If you’re looking for some supplementary material for your intermediate learners, then Season 3 of Coffee Break Spanish may be of interest to you. There’s a topic discussed in each episode as well as our very own Spanish telenovela called Verano Español. Have a listen to episode 1 here.
  • We hope you continue to find our social media posts of use to you and your learners. Over on our Instagram page, we shared a Spanish idiom: estar de mala leche. Do you know what it means in English? Click here to find out in the full post, which is also linked to our blog article about food-related idioms in Spanish.


  • Italian Travel Diaries also continue this week. Join Anna and Simone in Episode 5 as they have a go at ice skating on the Lago di Dobbiaco. Of course, we guarantee you'll pick up some interesting grammar points and pieces of vocabulary along the way. All’idea di, tanto che and per sicurezza are just some of the useful phrases which Mark and Francesca discuss in this episode.
  • Last week our Italian vocabulary post was based on the topic of feminine nouns when talking about jobs. In Italian, the spelling and pronunciation of some job titles change depending on a person’s gender, while some others are always written the same way, regardless of gender. Click here to learn more about this in our post.


  • Would you like to give your learners some extra practice on asking how someone is feeling in German? To ask someone how they are you can say wie geht's dir?, or in a more formal situation, wie geht es Ihnen? In this episode from Season 1 of Coffee Break German To Go, our host Julia asks this question to passers-by in the streets of Berlin. We hear lots of interesting responses from the native German speakers featured in the episode. Take a look at the video and use the answers of our interviewees to help your learners.
  • In our cultural post last Friday, we played a little game of ‘guess who?’ on Facebook. We gave them some clues and asked them to guess which Austrian figure we were describing. Here’s one of the clues to get your started: Er war Arzt, Religionskritiker und KulturtheoretikerClick here to see the rest of the clues and to have a go at guessing.

Radio Lingua resources

11 March 2021 (Radio Lingua)


We hope you have been enjoying season two of our French Travel Diaries. Our latest instalment continues in northwestern France, as our travellers head toward the port city of Caen. Share someuseful vocabulary featured in Charlotte’s diary entry this week, including: démarrer qqchse reconvertir and requinquer qqn Listen here. 

  • In the latest chapter of La Vérité éclate toujours you can hear some interesting structures in the pluperfect tense and examples of modal verbs in the conditional perfect tense, such as: elle aurait dû (she should have), elle n’aurait jamais pu (she never could have). Click here to catch up on the episode if you missed it.
  • If you are looking for ways to bring more culture into your classroom, follow us on social media for some ideas. Last week, we tried something a bit different and asked our Facebook community to share one piece of cultural knowledge from the French-speaking world with their fellow learners.One learner shared a fact about different types of cheese in France, while other learners shared their favourite French-language Netflix shows. Click here to read their recommendations and cultural curiosities, and leave your own too.


  • Are you teaching the topic of hobbies and pastimes with your learners? If so, our Coffee Break Spanish season to go asks the question ¿Qué haces en tu tiempo libre? (What do you do in your free time?). Your pupils can hear native speakers give their answers by , checking out this episode from Season 1 of Coffee Break Spanish To Go over on our YouTube channel. 
  • Do you have a favourite word in your own language? How about in Spanish? Mine is paulatinamente! We asked our learners to share their favourite Spanish word with us on Facebook last week, and absolutely loved reading everyone’s answers. Why don’t you ask your learners their opinions?  You can read more answers here or even leave us your own..


  • We're back with the latest episode from Season 2 of the Coffee Break Italian Travel Diaries! This time, Simone and Anna are visiting the village of Ortisei where they go sledging and enjoy a traditional dinner with canederli. Listen out for a range of adjectives mentioned in this diary entry, including accoglientefiabesco and innevato. As always, Coffee Break Italian hosts, Mark and Francesca are on hand to explain the language featured in Simone's diary entry throughout the episode. The next instalment is ready and waiting for you, just click here to get started..
  • Over on our Instagram page last week, we shared an Italian idiom with our community: sogni d’oro. When someone is heading to bed, you might wish them 'sweet dreams' in English, but, in Italian, you wish people 'dreams of gold'... che bello! Click here to see the full post and many more like this.


  • Do you have any pupils who want to the basics of German but don't have time to commit to one of our Coffee Break German courses? Or perhaps you would simply like a taster of the language. If so then check out our One Minute German course where you can do exactly that. Throughout the 10 lessons you can learn to use the basics of the language confidently and accurately in short, easy-to-follow video lessons. You’ll learn just enough German to express yourself in a variety of situations. It's the perfect starting point to get a taste of this wonderful language! Click here to access all 10 lessons for free over on our YouTube channel.
  • What do you know about the iconic edelweiss flower? Our cultural post last week on the Coffee Break German Facebook page talked all about this tiny, white flower and what makes it so special, particularly in Austria. Click here to find out more about it.

Radio Lingua resources

25 February 2021 (Radio Lingua)

Reading Club for schools resources

  • We hope you are continuing to enjoy our short Reading texts which are a useful supplement for your Senior Phase learners of Spanish and French. Last week we published an article about La Fête des Voisins and another about how to make the perfect Tortilla Española. Each text is available to download for free and comes with an audio file and answer scheme here.


  • It still looks like a while before we can travel abroad again. In the meantime, we published our latest episode of our second series of Travel Diaries in French. Episode two is en route to Rouen in Normandy and includes an explanation about the phrase manger sur le pouce. You can set this link as extra listening practice for your pupils.
  • Have you been following our crime series La vérité éclate toujours for Advanced learners of French? Meet a brand new character in this week’s episode by clicking here.


  • We know that translation is an essential skill for all learners of languages. However, there are sometimes words and phrases which are just not translatable at all. Have a look at our blog post ¡Es intraducible!  and share this with your learners to help them understand the challenge of trying to translate word for word.
  • Did you see our Live lesson, where Marina and Mark practised Listening and Writing as a dictation exercise? This type of activity is very useful and could be used during online lessons. You will find the video on our YouTube channel here.


  • Our Italian Travel Diaries also continue. In this episode, our hosts visit the medieval castle in Thun. Listen here to find out more.
  • Each week on our Facebook page for Italian, we publish a grammar post. Last week we looked at expressions of time. Why don’t you challenge your learners to the translation challenge ?


  • If you want to introduce your learners of German to film in the foreign language, look no further than our blog article in which we list our top six film recommendations for German learners. Click here to read the full article.
  • Each Tuesday we publish a language idiom over on Instagram, and  last week was the phrase auf Wolke sieben sein, where we would say to be on cloud nine, but in German it is to be on cloud seven. Click here to read the full post 

Radio Lingua resources

11 February 2021 (Radio Lingua)


  • It's time for some virtual travel once more! This Thursday (11th February) we're launching a brand new series of the Coffee Break French Travel Diaries and you can join Swiss student Charlotte and her friends Lucas and Théo as they take a trip through historic locations in northwestern France. They'll visit the castles of the Loire Valley, the Normandy beaches and the Mont St-Michel among other fascinating locations, and you can improve your French as you join them on this journey. Episode 1 of the new series will be available from Thursday 11th February and you'll find it in the podcast feed on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts
  • Do you know your famous French-speakers? We played a fun game of ‘Guess Who?’ on the Coffee Break French Facebook page last week, in which we provided learners with some clues and they had to guess who we were describing. Here’s one clue to get you started: j'ai combattu dans la guerre de Cent Ans. Think you know who it is? Click here to see the full post and to have a guess. A great idea to share with your remote learners!


  • ¿Qué tiempo hace hoy? (What's the weather like today?) Can your learners answer this question confidently in Spanish? We're taking you back to Lesson 21 from Season 1 of Coffee Break Spanish this week to talk about this very common conversation starter. Join Coffee Break Spanish teacher Mark and student Kara where we learn not only some useful phrases for talking about the weather, but also an explanation of the constructions behind these phrases so that you can build on these in future. By the end of this episode you'll be able to plan your activities around the weather forecast in the Spanish-speaking area you're visiting. Share the link with your classes for some extra online practice.
  • Each week we share a cultural post last week on our social media pages and last week we thought it would be interesting to learn about the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla, who was known as the ‘master of light’ for his dazzling works. We asked members of our community to have a look online at some of Soralla’s paintings, and to let us know what they thought of his work. We had a very positive reaction, with lots of our learners saying me gustan mucho sus pinturasClick here to see the full post. You could share this with your learners of Spanish or simply enjoy finding out more for yourself.


  • Our Coffee Break Italian Travel Diaries Season 2 also launches on Friday 12th February. Have you managed to guess where we're going yet? Here's a clue - you may need to wrap up in your winter clothes this time! We hope you're looking forward to discovering a different part of Italy and building your language skills along the way. The podcast episodes will be published weekly on SpotifyApple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Enjoy this season’s journey and encourage your intermediate learners to join you.
  • Have you heard of the English expression ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’? If you want to convey this idea in Italian, you can use the expression volere è potere (literally ‘to want is to be able to’). This expression was the topic of our latest weekly #tuesdayidiom post on Instagram. Click here to see the full post and to access the rest of our Instagram content.


  • Was war der letzte Film, den du gesehen hast? (What was the last film you saw?) Many of us have more time to watch films and TV shows at the moment and so this may be a common topic of conversation among your German-speaking friends. Think about the last film you watched and how you could describe it in German. How would you review the film? Which adjectives would you use to describe it to your friends? As a starting point, take a look at this episode from Season 2 of Coffee Break German To Go where our German host, Julia, takes to the streets of Berlin to ask passers-by about the last film they watched. You may hear some useful words and phrases which you could use to talk about the last film you or your learners saw.
  • Our Friday German culture post got the weekend off to a great start last week. We were learning all about Schlager (German pop) and the Schlagerkönigin (Schlager queen), German singer, Helene Fischer. We shared a link to Fischer’s song Atemlos durch die Nacht, which became synonymous with the genre after its release in 2014. Click here to view the full post and have a listen (or a dance) to the upbeat song.

Reading Texts

  • Have you been downloading our free reading texts for secondary schools? Each day on the RLN Education Facebook page we are posting a new cultural text, with accompanying audio and answer scheme. Just follow the link to sign up and give your learners some extra reading material while they are learning remotely.

Radio Lingua resources

4 February 2021 (Radio Lingua)

Reading resources for Senior Phase

Each day on the RLN Facebook page we are releasing a short cultural reading text, freely available to teachers. To access the downloadable and one page pdf, along with the audio file and an answer scheme, just follow the link on the text. The texts will alternate between French and Spanish each day and are ideal to share with pupils working remotely.


  • We’ve released a brand new episode of La Vérité éclate toujours here, our series for advanced learners of French. In this episode, we hear many examples of the following relative pronouns: dans laquelle, sur lequel, que and qui, as well as an example of the ne explétif in a comparative structure .
  • As language learners, we all know the power of verbs: the more verbs you learn in different tenses, the greater number of topics you are able to talk about in French. Our Coffee Break French Verbfix course is here to help your learners stay on top of your verbs so that they can use them accurately and effectively in both written and spoken French. Click here to get started with the lesson.


  • On our Coffee Break Spanish Facebook page last week we talked about the phrase por los pelos. This extremely useful expression literally means ‘by the hairs’ but really means ‘by very little’. So, for example, you can say that someone passed an exam por los pelos if they only just scraped through. Click here to see the full post and encourage your learners to use this phrase in their written or spoken language this week.
  • For beginner learners of Spanish it’s important to know which prepositions to use when talking about different modes of transport. In English we travel ‘by foot’ or ‘by train’, but what about in Spanish? Click here to read our most recent Grammar Builder Facebook post, in which we explain the simple rule for getting this right.



  • Take a look at this episode from Season 1 of Coffee Break German where we help you learn how to speak confidently about birthdays and dates in German. Not only that, native speaker Thomas also teaches learner Mark how to talk about the important topic of jobs. In our Grammar Guru segment, Kirsten focuses on prepositions which can take either the accusative or dative case, and Julia visits Vienna in the Cultural Correspondent segment to round off the episode. This is a great introduction for beginner learners of German, or for pupils to spend time at home consolidating language they’ve already met.
  • Continuing with the theme of birthdays, we found out how to wish someone a happy birthday in German in one our recent weekly Word Builder post. We also provided our community with some useful birthday-related vocabulary so you can take everything you learn in the episode above a step further. Click here to see the full post.

Welcome back to a new year of language learning with Coffee Break Languages!

21 January 2021 (Radio Lingua)


  • Chapter 15 of our advanced course for French learners, La Vérité éclate toujours has now been published. As we follow the intriguing story, we come into contact with some words and phrases which will help you take your language skills to the next level. Manigancer (to scheme/plot), tueur à gages (hitman), and en avoir vu de toutes les couleurs (to have been through a lot) are just some of the words and expressions you can expect to hear in this episode. Click here to listen to the full episode when it's available.
  • To toast the start of the new year, we welcomed back our Coffee Break French Facebook community after the holiday period with a post all about how to talk about raising a toast in French. You’ve probably heard the word santé, but do you know any other ways to say ‘cheers’ in French? Click here to see the full post and learn some new vocabulary.


  • Looking for a quick fix of Spanish to fill those small pockets of downtime during your day? Take a look at our Coffee Break Spanish Espresso series in which we cover key grammar and vocabulary points in just 10-15 minutes. In Episode 3 we learn everything we need to know about how to use the tricky word ni in Spanish. Not only that, our native Spanish speaker, Fernanda helps us get to grips with the subjunctive after es importante que. To round off the episode, we share a Spanish quote of the week, this time, focusing on the theme of the fear of danger. Intrigued? Click here to listen to the full episode.
  • Are you and your learners following us on Instagram for some language learning tips? We kicked off the year with a brand-new Tuesday idiom post. The idiom was the Spanish phrase estar en su salsa which literally means ‘to be in one’s sauce’. Can you work out in which contexts you would actually use this idiom? Click here to find out in the full post.


  • As we are still unable to travel, we can still do so virtually! Our new series of Coffee Break Italian Travel Diaries will launch very soon. This time, we'll be transporting you to a completely different part of the Italian-speaking world to explore the area and improve your language skills with some brand new characters. Can you guess where we might be going and what we might be doing? We can't wait for our Coffee Break Italian Community to join us on another virtual journey, starting on Friday 12th February. In the meantime, you can catch up on Giulia and Paolo's Tuscan adventure by clicking here to access Season 1, if you haven't already done so. A presto!
  • For our first Coffee Break Italian Facebook post of 2021, we decided to talk all about the Italian word ciaspolata, which translates rather long-windedly as 'the activity of going for a walk in the snow while wearing snowshoes. Ti piace la neve? Click here to let us know in a comment on the post.


  • We're revisiting Episode 6 from our Coffee Break German Magazine series this week to draw your attention to author Michael Ende, who wrote one of the most famous works of fiction for younger readers, The Neverending Story, among other books. Click here to find out more about Ende and his work in this edition of the Magazine. Not only do we gain an insight into his work, we also learn about German word order with the help of our question from listener, Soumaya.
  • We jumped straight back into improving our German grammar this year with a post all about using umlauts (the two dots on the German öü and ä). We provided our learners with a list of sentences and asked them to pick whether a certain word in the sentence should be written with or without an umlaut. Here’s an example: Hast du heute schön/schon etwas gegessen?Click here to have a go yourself

Radio Lingua resources

11 December 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Festive Phrases

  • How would you like to share with your learners a festive phrase in 25 different languages? This December we have launched a brand new, updated version of our Festive Phrases series over on our YouTube channel, where we're releasing a new video every day until Christmas Day. Each of these videos will feature a Festive Phrase for you to learn over the next 25 days. Catch up on the first week of our Festive Phrases here. While you're there, leave us a festive phrase in the comments section in the language you're learning.
  • Our Live Lessons continue this week, but don’t forget, you can catch up on them on our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe while you're there so that you're notified as soon as we publish new videos.


  • We continue with our To Go series and this week’s question is As-tu déjà mangé quelque chose de bizarre ? This video works well for perfect tense practice and food topics. Take a look at the video here where we hear a range of interesting responses from passers-by in the streets of Nantes. You'll be sure to improve your food-related vocabulary
  • Are you and your advanced learners following our crime drama La Vérité éclate toujours? Our latest episode has been released and is full of challenging language. Listen out for the following adjectives: comblé (fulfilled), épanoui (blooming), and roublard (sneaky) featured in the episode. click here to find out more information.


  • In a similar vein, if you’re looking for a challenge for more advanced learners of Spanish, then check out Season 4 of Coffee Break Spanish. Developed with advanced learners in mind, teacher Mark and native Spanish speaker Carmen help you master the trickiest parts of the Spanish language. This course centres around a story involving characters from different parts of the Spanish-speaking world, and through the story, you'll pick up a huge range of advanced vocabulary, develop a wonderful repertoire of idiomatic expressions and deepen your understanding of complex grammar points. Have a listen to the episodes of Season 4 to get a taste of what our advanced course has to offer.
  • Each week on our Facebook page, we publish language and cultural information. Last week we took a virtual trip to a very luxurious location, where we learned all about the world’s most expensive restaurant, called Sublimotion. But, do you know where in the Spanish-speaking world the restaurant is located? Click here to find out, and to hear about our community members’ favourite places to eat.


  • We hope you're hungry as the latest episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go is all about food, specifically, the strangest food we've ever eaten. With this in mind, Francesca is in the streets of Stresa, approaching passers-by with the following question: qual è la cosa più strana che hai mai mangiato? Can you encourage your learners to give their own detailed answers to this question in Italian? Take some inspiration and key vocabulary from the answers we received in Episode 9 which you can access by clicking here


  • If you’re looking for an different cultural focus for your German learners, we have a historical episode of our Coffee Break German Magazine to share with you this week. Following the events of World War 2, the monumental task of clearing and reconstructing towns and cities fell to the Trümmerfrauen, literally “rubble women”. In Episode 3 of the Coffee Break German Magazine we look at this fascinating period of German history. Not only this, Andrea answers listener Maddie’s question about compound words, and Olivera introduces an interesting idiomatic expression in the Sahnehäubchen.
  • Our cultural post got us all in the festive spirit last week, as we were talking about der Vorweihnachtszeit, or the ‘pre-Christmas season’. We shared a classic recipe for something which will make your home smell like a German Christmas market this year. Can you guess what the recipe was for? Glühwein, of course! Click here to see the full post, and click here to try the recipe yourself at home.

Euroquiz 2021

8 December 2020 (SEET)

Have you registered your teams for the Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) Euroquiz competition? The annual project is open to all P6 pupils across Scotland, which sees teams of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe and the wider world. Subjects covered include languages, history, geography, culture and European affairs. Heats take place in local authorities from January to March, with the winning teams from all areas progressing to the National Euroquiz Final held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament in June.

Visit the SEET website for more information and to register.


Radio Lingua resources

4 December 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Festive Phrases

This Advent we have updated our Festive Phrases videos on our Youtube channel

Each day at 9 am sees the release of a new language, and the short video teaches your learners to say Merry Christmas in that language. The new videos show more recent figures on the number of speakers of that language and where in the world it is spoken. 

Live Lessons

Our live lessons continue on Facebook and Youtube. Our latest lessons focused on dictation, an excellent method to improve both listening skills and accuracy in writing. Catch up with our latest French exercise here


  • At this time of year, thoughts turn to hopes of travelling again soon. Where would you like to go? Pierre-Benoît discusses this topic with native French speakers in Episode 8 of Coffee Break French To Go. Quelle serait ta destination idéale ?  Can your pupils understand the answers? On the second playing of the video, the French subtitles are shown to help you explain new or complex, but natural language. You can watch the episode for free here. 
  • If you’re following  La Vérité éclate toujoursour crime drama for advanced learners of French, you’ll find the latest instalment available. Don’t forget to pay close attention to the language used along the way, in particular, some subjunctive triggers including avant quefaire en sorte que and le temps que.


  • Are you or your learners following us on our social media accounts for free language learning advice? Last week over on the Coffee Break Spanish Facebook page, we had a great reaction from the community to our Monday vocabulary post. We shared a colourful graphic about Autumn weather, and how to talk about the weather in Spanish. We asked all of our learners what the weather was like where they are, and we had lots of great answers. Click here to view the the handy graphic.
  • What are you thankful for? Last week’s Knowledge Builder post on the Coffee Break Spanish Facebook page was all about the Spanish saying: es de bien nacido ser agradecido. The saying expresses the importance of saying thank you; an appropriate saying for this time of year with the US having celebrated Thanksgiving last week. Click here to read the full post in which we provide a list of different ways to give thanks in Spanish.


  • As with our French To Go series, our latest episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go has been published. This week’s question is - Se potessi andare in qualsiasi posto del mondo, dove andresti? (If you could you anywhere in the world, where would you go?). We're dreaming about our ideal holiday destination in this latest episode .Take some ideas from the words and phrases used by native Italian speakers featured in the episode.
  • In our Grammar Builder post on Coffee Break Italian’s Facebook page last week, we reviewed a very important aspect of Italian grammar. We looked at the verb essere and the fact that it needs to agree with the subject in gender and number when used as an auxiliary verb in the passato prossimo. We gave three example sentences and asked our community to fill the gaps and post their answers in the comments section. Click here to see how they got on, and ask your learners for their own answers. 


  • Have you been talking about your town with your German learners? Was gibt es hier zu sehen? (What is there to see here?) or was gibt es hier zu tun? (What is there to do here?) are two useful questions for your pupils. If they would struggle to respond to these questions in German then take a look back at Episode 17 from Season 1 of Coffee Break German where you’ll learn how to talk about what there is to do in your town. By the end of the lesson, you'll also be able to ask important information at the tourist information office when you're visiting a brand new German-speaking area yourself.

Radio Lingua resources

27 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here's this week's selection of free resources from the team at Radio Lingua:


  • If you are looking for some authentic but challenging content for your French learners, why don’t you take a look at the latest episode of Coffee Break French To Go Season 2: qu’est-ce qui t’embête le plus ?  is this week’s question with Pierre Benoît.  Throughout the episode, you'll pick up some useful words and phrases to help you express the things that annoy people the most in life. Click here to hear what annoys the French native speakers we spoke to in the streets of Nantes
  • For advanced learners of French - teachers and pupils alike - the wait for Part 2 of La Vérité éclate toujours is over! The second part of our crime drama for advanced learners of French is now available and episode 11 of the podcast is published in the usual podcast feeds here.


  • This week we're revisiting Episode 9 of our Coffee Break Spanish Magazine series aimed at intermediate to advanced learners. In each episode we present cultural topics and grammar study in an enjoyable way, allowing you and your pupils to build your vocabulary and increase your range of expression. We're revisiting Episode 9 this week and we're working up an appetite as we're heading to Mexico to talk about food.Click here to access the episode 


  • As with our French episode, in this latest episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go Francesca asks the question: cosa ti fa arrabbiare? (What makes you angry?) Join native Italian speakers in the streets of Stresa as they share some interesting words and phrases to express the things that make them angry. Listen to what they have to say about this topic here. You can share this episode with your learners to see how much they understand at the first playing, and then use the subtitles the second time to help discuss any new language or grammar points.
  • If you’re thinking of starting to learn Italian, or have pupils who are interested, why don’t you try out the very first season of Coffee Break Italian. Whatever your language level, you'll be sure to pick up some useful tips in this episode where Mark and Francesca equip you with everything you need to know to acquire the important skill of using the phone in Italian. This episode also features a Caffè Culturale section in which Francesca talks about Italian opera.


  • Don't miss out on the valuable content included in Seasons 1 and 2 of our Coffee Break German To Go series. Developed for beginner and intermediate learners of German, we help you put what you've been learning into practice with access to interviews featuring native German speakers. We cover a different topic in each lesson so by the end of the series you and your learners will be well equipped with the necessary vocabulary and expressions to share your opinions in German. Access all episode from Seasons 1 and 2 for free here
  • In Season 2 of Coffee Break German for lower intermediate learners, we take a closer look at grammatical constructions to help you develop a better understanding of how the language works so that you can communicate more confidently in German. This week, we're revisiting  Episode 13 from Season 2 to learn how to translate 'much', 'many', 'some', 'few', and lots more quantifying words – something learners often find difficult. By the end of this lesson you’ll be able to talk confidently in German using the words viel(e), wenig(e)etwasmanche, and say how much chocolate you eat, how many glasses of water you drink, or how many portions of fruit you have.

Radio Lingua resources

20 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Live Lessons

  • Do you and your learners need some help with sounding more like a native speaker when talking in the foreign language? This week saw two live lesson with a focus on pronunciation. You can view the German video here and the Spanish one, where we looked at how to pronounce the r / rr sound  here.


  • We're more than halfway through our brand new series of Coffee Break French To Go! In Episode 6, we're discussing different times of the year as we're asking passers-by which season they prefer - summer or winter. Préféres-tu l’été ou l’hiver ? - Do your learners prefer summer or winter? To find out how to express your own opinion in French, join Pierre-Benoît in the latest episode and ask your pupils to state their preference.
  • We are always looking to include different sayings and expressions in our teaching, so why don’t you have a look at our Coffee Break French Facebook page where last week we looked at the expression: faire froid dans le dos, which is the equivalent of ‘to send shivers down your spine’. We asked our community to comment below the post with something that sends shivers down their spine, and we received some great replies, like this one from Jean: Quand je vois une araignée, ça me fait froid dans le dos. Can you encourage your pupils to come up with their own example? Click here to view the full post for some inspiration.


  • If you finished our Coffee Break Spanish Travel Diaries and are missing being virtually in Spain, why not join Mark and the Coffee Break Spanish team 'on the road' in the south of Spain with our popular En Marcha series for intermediate learners of Spanish. Throughout the season we visit some beautiful places in the Málaga area and talk to people who live or work in the area or who are visiting the area. In Episode 2 we find out what it's like to live and work in Málaga as Mark talks to Sara who works in the Tourism department of the Ayuntamiento de Málaga. These conversations feature authentic Spanish, with a whole range of different accents and speeds of delivery, so it’s the perfect way to improve your listening comprehension. ¡Vamos!
  • In our Spanish Grammar Builder post last week, we recapped the different uses of the words bien and bueno, which can often be quite confusing for learners. Click here to see the full post and a full explanation of when to use bien and bueno.


  • Preferisci l’estate o l’inverno? - Do you prefer summer or winter? This is the question Francesca asks native Italians in the streets of Stresa in the latest episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go for intermediate learners. Click here to hear how native Italians express their thoughts on these seasons and listen out for any new words or phrases you're not familiar with.
  • Have you ever had a dream that you’ve set aside, which will hopefully come true one day? In Italian, this type of dream is called a sogno nel cassetto, literally a 'dream in the drawer’. We love the idea of keeping a dream in a drawer until it’s ready to come true! Do you have any 'dreams in the drawer'? Click here to see the full post and to see the impressive dreams shared by our community.


  • If you’re looking for help with Grammar in German for yourself or learners, have a look at Season 2 of Coffee Break German for lower intermediate learners. This week, we're revisiting  episode 13 from Season 2 to learn how to translate 'much', 'many', 'some', 'few', and lots more quantifying words – something learners often find difficult. By the end of this lesson you’ll be able to talk confidently in German using the words viel(e), wenig(e)etwasmanche, and say how much chocolate you eat, how many glasses of water you drink, or how many portions of fruit you have.
  • Do you know the English translations of the German words nach and zu? They are both translated as ‘to’ which means it can be quite tricky for an English-speaking German learner to know when to use each word. In our Grammar Builder Facebook post last week, we gave our community an explanation of the differences in use between these two small words. Click here to see the post, then try and come up with two example sentences using nach or zu correctly.

The Language Ambassadors

19 November 2020 (University of Strathclyde)

photo of the Language Ambassadors

The Language Ambassadors are back……and they have gone VIRTUAL!

Get your pupils involved to discover the joys of learning and being able to use another language by organising a Virtual Language Ambassadors visit to your school!

Our Language Ambassadors are students of French, Italian or Spanish, on various degrees, including BA Honours in French and Spanish, International Business and a Modern Language, Law and a Language but also Engineering and Science degrees.

This programme is free of charge and provides student role models to promote languages to young people and encourage your pupils to choose languages as part of their high school curriculum.

We can deliver a range of activities online, such as:

  • A virtual presentation about their experiences as university language learners and their experiences abroad;
  • Q&A sessions about the benefits of studying a language;
  • A small group discussion for Senior phase students who have already selected a language;
  • Micro-presentations as part of a school-wide event

From Harris to Hamilton, from Orkney to Paisley, book a virtual visit today by completing our request form!

If you have any questions about The Language Ambassadors programme, please contact Cédric Moreau.


Radio Lingua resources

13 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here's this week's selection of free resources from the Radio Lingua team.


  • Are you talking to your learners about the benefits of continuing to study a language? It might be useful to hear how native French speakers respond to the question: pour toi, est-il important d’apprendre une langue étrangère ? (Is learning a foreign language important to you?). How would you respond to this question in French? Take some ideas from the responses we receive in the episode by watching here.
  • With autumn well and truly here in the northern hemisphere, we thought that it would be useful to share some autumn-related vocabulary with our community over on the Coffee Break French Facebook page last week. Do you know the French words for rain, pumpkin, wind, chestnuts and dead leaves? Try and test yourself, then click here to view the post and see if you were right.


  • We're going back to basics this week as we're revisiting Episode 14 from Season 1 of Coffee Break Spanish to talk about the town. In this episode we look at places in the town and help learners talk about places in their own town with a very catchy song. After listening to this lesson you'll be able to tell Spanish speakers all there is to offer in the town where you live. 
  • As we mentioned in last week's newsletter, on the 2nd of November, countries around Latin America celebrate El día de los muertos, or the Day of the Dead. We decided to base all of last week’s Spanish Facebook posts around this event, starting with a vocabulary list at the start of the week. Click here to learn a bit more about El día de los muertos, and learn some interesting vocabulary associated with this celebration, from calacas and calaveras to ofrendas.


  • As with our French series, this time with we're talking about the importance of languages. Francesca asks the question: pensi che sia importante studiare le lingue straniere? (Do you think that studying foreign languages is important?) and we received many interesting responses. Click here to take a look at what native Italians had to say about the subject . Their responses might help your learners see the benefits of continuing to study languages.
  • Over on the Coffee Break Languages Instagram page last week, it was time to share an Italian idiom with our followers. The idiom was tutto fa brodo, which translates literally as ‘everything makes broth’ but is used to express the idea that everything, no matter what it is, can be made into something useful. Had you heard of this idiom before? Can you use it in a sentence? Click here to see the full post.


  • If you're looking for some authentic material to use with your beginner or intermediate learners of German then you can take your German 'on the road' with Seasons 1 and 2 of Coffee Break German To Go. In these series, our German presenter, Julia engages with a range of native speakers on location in Germany. We hear their views on a range of topics from family to sport, food, languages, work and more. There are 10 video episodes ready and waiting for you in each season. Access all episode from series 1 and 2 for free here
  • How many different ways of greeting people do you know in German? Have you heard of the phrase Grüß Gott? Used in rural areas of South Germany and in Austria, this greeting literally means “God greet you”. Last week, we challenged our Facebook community to come up with any more regional greetings that they knew, and to share them with their fellow learners.

Facebook Lives

Next week our Facebook Lives are focusing on pronunciation. If you can’t watch the Live, the videos are available to view on YouTube any time after the event. 

  • Wednesday 18 November at 15.30 is German pronunciation
  • Thursday 19 November at 15.30 is Spanish pronunciation

Radio Lingua resources

6 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)


  • Are you teaching negatives in French to your classes? We cover ne … plus meaning “no longer”, and ne … que meaning 'only', as well as about ne … plus quein this episode of Walk, Talk and Learn French
  • Qu’as-tu fait hier ? (What did you do yesterday?). Being able to use the perfect tense accurately is fundamental for pupils studying for national qualifications.? Click here to watch Episode 4 from our new season of Coffee Break French To Go, to see the ways in which native speakers use the past tenses in their responses.


  • We have come to the end of this series of the Coffee Break Spanish Travel Diaries. We hope that you've enjoyed discovering some beautiful locations in the north of Spain from the comfort of your own home as we’ve not been able to travel ourselves this year. We arrive in the vibrant city of Santiago de Compostela and take a look at the Spanish language throughout the episode including the word picoteo and the lo + adjective grammatical structure. Listen to Episode 10 for free here 
  • Our Coffee Break Spanish To Go series allows you to take your Spanish 'on the road'. Learners can join Spanish host Marina, as she takes to the streets in Spain to interview native speakers on a number of interesting topics. From the responses we hear, your learners can develop their comprehension skills and learn new natural words and phrases. Access Series 1 and 2 for free here 


  • In a similar vein to our French series, in the latest episode of Coffee break Italian To Go, Francesca asks passers-by in the streets of Stresa: cos’hai fatto ieri? (What did you do yesterday?). We hear lots of interesting responses which will help our intermediate Italian learners with the use of the past tense. Click here to see how native Italian speakers responded to this question 
  • Have you joined our Facebook community? We introduced a very useful little expression in a Facebook post last week. The expression was farcela, which means ‘to make it’ or ‘to manage’. Here’s an example of the expression used in context: L'esame era difficile, ma ce l'abbiamo fatta. Can you use farcela in a sentence? Click here to see a more detailed explanation of how to use this phrase


  • Join us in the 10th and final episode for this series of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries. Karin and her family are back in the camper van, driving the last few kilometres of their memorable 450km trip. As they make it to their last stop in Lindau, Karin reflects on the time she has spent travelling with her family and the wonderful places they have visited - einen besseren Familienurlaub kann man sich kaum wünschen (one could hardly wish for a better family holiday). While listening to Mark and Andrea discuss the language in Karin's diary entry, listen out for the use of the perfect tense. 
  • Our cultural post on Facebook last week talked about the popular German Jahrmarkt-Süßigkeit (funfair candy): gebrannte Mandeln (candied almonds). Have you ever tried this delicious treat? If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine the sweet smell wafting through a cosy Christmas market. Click here to see the full post on Facebook, and click here for a recipe to make your own gebrannte Mandeln.

Languages and Music

  • Have you ever tried listening to music in a foreign language as a way of developing your vocabulary and range of expression? Here at Coffee Break Languages we love combining music with language learning which is why we created our Tune for Tuesday series on our blog. In each article, we introduce you to some new styles of music from around the world, while helping you develop your language skills. You can find our full range of carefully selected songs in French, Spanish, Italian and German over on our blog. Be sure to check out our Spotify playlist while you're there.

Radio Lingua resources

30 October 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here is this week's selection of resources from the team at Radio Lingua:


  • Do you teach daily routines in French to your classes?  In the second episode of Season 2 of Coffee Break French To Go, Pierre-Benoît asked passers-by about their daily routine with the question: C’est quoi une journée typique pour toi? (What is a typical day for you?). How would you answer this in French? Click here to get some inspiration from the answers we received in the streets of Nantes to share with your pupils.
  • Last Friday we decided that the best way to end the week would be with some music, so we asked the Coffee Break French Facebook followers to share the cheeriest French-language songs that they know. We had some great responses in the comments section such as Je veux by Zaz and Alors on danse by Stromae. Click here to see even more toe-tapping recommendations. Please send us any of your own!


  • We also recently released Season 2 of Coffee Break Spanish To Go for intermediate learners which you can access for free here. In each episode Marina interviews native speakers about a range of topics but this time she's in the city of Málaga, in the south of Spain. These videos are great starter activities for beginner learners of Spanish.
  • Do you follow us on Instagram? Last week, we shared a Spanish idiom over there with our followers: en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Have you heard of this expression before? It’s equivalent to the English expression ‘in the blink of an eye’. Follow us by searching for @coffeebreaklanguages on Instagram to help your learners build up a bank of useful and natural phrases to use in their classwork.


  • We're also back with Episode 2 of our brand-new season of Coffee Break Italian To Go for intermediate learners of Italian. This week, our host Francesca is talking to native Italian speakers in the streets of Stresa to ask the following question: com’è la tua giornata tipica? (What is your daily routine?). Watch the video and listen to the podcast version here to find out what our respondents get up to on a daily basis.
  • Last week in our Grammar Builder post on Facebook, we talked about the verbs portare and prendere: ‘to bring’ and ‘to take’ in English. We provided our community with a gap-filling exercise as an opportunity to practise using these two verbs. See if you can complete this sentence with the correct verb: Laura ____ la sua borsa dalla sedia. What do you think? Click here to see the answer in the comments section, and to have a go at two more exercises. Follow us on Facebook for some more ideas and practice.


  • Last Friday, we asked our Facebook learners if they had any cultural recommendations to share with their fellow German learners, whether it be a TV series, book or film. As we said in the post, “no one understands the challenges and tricks to do with learning a language better than the community you're learning with.” Click here to see some great suggestions left in the comments.

Live Lessons

We have started our next series of Live lessons which may be difficult for teachers to access during the day. However the videos will be available to view on both YouTube and Facebook. You can download our full schedule of live lessons planned for October to December from the website: click here for more information.

Radio Lingua resources

9 October 2020 (Radio Lingua)

This week's selection of freely available resources from the team at Radio Lingua:


  • Have you been following our Advanced French novel? This week sees a brand new episode of La Vérité éclate toujours and secrets are revealed!  Listen to Chapter 10 here . Don't forget to pay attention to the spoken register of French featured in this dialogue with words such as les flics (cops) and colloquial questions including comment ça ? (how come?) and où ça ? (where's that?).
  • As we know, learning new verbs and how to conjugate them is key to pupils’ success in developing their range of expression in another language. Knowing which verb to use and of course, how to conjugate it can often be tricky for language learners. That is why we developed our French Verb Fix course, in a bid to help learners 'fix' their verbs with conjugations of various verbs in the present, perfect, imperfect and future tenses. We use the art of repetition, interactive quizzes and even musical backing tracks, to help our learners build their confidence when learning and using verbs. Take a look at the very first lesson of the series where we focus on the verb parler meaning “to speak” or “to talk”. This is an example of a regular -er verb so we not only learn how to conjugate parler in the present, perfect, imperfect and future tenses, but also how to conjugate hundreds, if not thousands, of other regular -er verbs.


  • Our latest episode of our Spanish Travel Diaries takes our couple from San Vicente de la Barquera in Cantabria as they make their way to the village of Lastres in Asturias and visit the Bufones de Arenillas geysers and the Playa de Gulpiyuri – an inland beach. Mark and Anabel talk about these places being de ensueño (dreamlike) and discuss the use of the verb madrugar (to get up early) among many other interesting expressions and phrases. Access the podcastAccess the course
  • The Coffee Break Spanish team is in the classical Spanish city of Salamanca for Season 2 of Coffee Break Spanish To Go. Our host Marina, takes to the streets of this beautiful city and approaches native Spanish speakers to hear their views on a number of interesting topics such as, food, film, languages and much more. You can catch up on all 10 episodes for free on our YouTube channel


  • Are you an intermediate learner of Italian? If so then take a look at our Coffee Break Italian Magazine. In each of the 10 episodes, CBI hosts Mark and Francesca present cultural topics and grammar study, allowing you to build your vocabulary and increase your range of expression. We cover a whole range of topics and in Episode 2 we head south to the region of Puglia and, more specifically, to the area known as Il Gargano. Francesca and Mark also have some advice on how to learn vocabulary, based on listener, Tricia’s question. The episode concludes with a scioglilingua – a tongue twister.
  • Are you following our Coffee Break Italian Facebook page? Our community enjoyed a task we set for them on Italian diminutives, which are used to make nouns sound ‘smaller’. We provided them with three words and asked them to pick the correct diminutive ending from -ino, -ina, -ini or -ine, based on the nouns’ gender and number. Click here to have a go.


  • It’s also Episode 6 of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries where we head to spend a day in Garmisch-Partenkirchenm, one of the most popular German skiing areas. Although skiing isn't on the cards for the family, they still have a fantastic, fun-filled day and even make some new friends. As Mark and Andrea discuss Karin's travel diary entry, we hear examples of the pluperfect tense as well as some interesting expressions and vocabulary including the word hetzen and the demonstrative pronoun diejenige. Listen to the podcast | Access the course
  • If you have completed Seasons 1 and 2 of Coffee Break German and are ready to take the next step then our Magazine might be the right course for you. In each of the 10 episodes, CBG hosts Mark and Andrea focus on a text, based around a particular topic, and discuss the interesting language points alongside some useful cultural information. In this musical episode, our theme is Schlager, an immensely popular style of music with catchy melodies and happy-go-lucky lyrics. Find out more about this cultural phenomenon, and learn about reflexive verbs and using the perfect or Präteritum with als.

Radio Lingua resources

24 September 2020 (Radio Lingua)

The team at Radio Lingua has collated this week's selection of their language learning resources which are freely available.


  • The Coffee Break French team is busy preparing materials for Season 2 of our Coffee Break French To Go series in which Pierre-Benoît is talking to locals in Nantes, the town where he studied. Ahead of the launch, why not take a look back at Season 1? Join Pierre-Benoît in the town of Pornic, in the west of France and take a look at this episode where we're talking sport. Quel est ton sport préféré ?
  • In our cultural Facebook post, we were talking about la bise. Despite the need to practise social distancing at the moment, it’s important to know how to do la bise when life goes back to normal. How many kisses should one give? This depends on where you are in the French-speaking world. Here’s a useful video which explains everything you need to know to prepare yourself for la bise in the future.


  • Have you seen our Coffee Break Spanish to Go videos?  They are ideal for authentic content in your classes or for sharing for online learning. We took to the streets of Málaga in the south of Spain to ask native Spanish speakers their thoughts on a number of topics. In Episode 9 we ask passers-by: ¿qué haces en tu tiempo libre? - what do you do in your free time?
  • Every Tuesday on our Coffee Break Languages Instagram account, we share an idiom of the week. Our latest idiom was a piece of cake to remember… in Spanish to say something is really easy, we can say that it is ‘eaten bread’ or pan comido. Why don’t you follow our account or share with your learners?  Click here to view the post and see the responses we received.
  • In Episode 4 of the Coffee Break Spanish Travel Diaries, we’re leaving Bilbao behind and heading to the capital city of the Cantabria region of Spain – Santander! Listen out for the interesting vocabulary featured in this episode, as well as some useful phrases such as costarle a alguien (to find something difficult). This is a great way to improve your own Spanish or to challenge your advanced learners. Access the podcast Access the course


  • One of last week's Facebook posts was centred around the following question: cosa fai nella vita? which literally means: 'what do you do in life?' This question can be used to ask ‘what do you do?' or 'what is your job?'. We loved hearing about our learners’ jobs in the comments. Check out the post here and try answering the question.
  • It's almost time to release Coffee Break Italian To Go Season 2! In the meantime, we're catching up on episodes featured in Season 1 and this week, we're asking passers-by: di dove sei? (where are you from?). Do you know how to explain where you come from in Italian? Watch Episode 2 to find out how to structure a response to this question in Italian.


  • In Episode 4 of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries, Karin and her family approach the Austrian border. They explore the new area and take in the nature around them before having some family fun on the Sommerrodelbahn (summer toboggan on metal tracks). Listen out for an example of the pluperfect tense as well as the preposition bei. Los geht's! Listen to the podcast | Access the course
  • Join Mark and Coffee Break German To Go host, Julia as they take a trip to the beautiful town of Potsdam, where Julia grew up. Mark puts his German into practice with Julia’s help and together they visit various parts of Potsdam including the Russische Kolonie Alexandrowka, the Holländisches Viertel, and Park Sanssouci. We’ve provided English captions for the whole video, and all German used in the video has both German and English subtitles. Click here to watch the video, explore Potsdam and brush up your German along the way.

Radio Lingua resources

17 September 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here's this week's selection of free language learning resources from the team at Radio Lingua.


  • In the latest instalment of La Vérité éclate toujours, our course for advanced learners of French, there’s a huge rebondissement (plot twist) as we discover the identity of the mystery visitor. Tune in to find out.
  • Do you know how to thank someone for something in French? Find out exactly when to use when to use merci de and merci pour in this episode of Walk, Talk and Learn French, the series in which we WALK around the streets of France, we TALK about the language we see around us to help you and your pupils LEARN more French!


  • Have you been following our Spanish Travel Diaries? As we all missed out on our trips to Spain, join, Victoria and Abel as they travel through the north of Spain. This episode takes us to the Basque city of Bilbao Access the podcast Access the course
  • The video content included in our Coffee Break Spanish To Go series features our Spanish presenter, Marina in the streets of Salamanca asking passers-by their opinion on a variety of topics. We have two seasons available which are free to watch on our YouTube channel.and are an excellent resource to show authentic Spanish to your learners.


  • Our Italian Travel Diaries series has now been published and you can access all ten episodes. We discover a different area of Tuscany while discussing the language used in diary entries from protagonists Giulia and Paolo as they travel around the wonderful region. Have a listen to the free podcasts 
  • While we're busy preparing materials for Season 2 of Coffee Break Italian To Go, we're taking a look back at lessons from Season 1. This time, we're talking about family as Francesca is in Milan asking passers-by: hai fratelli?. How would you answer this question in Italian? Click here to take some inspiration from responses we received from native Italian speakers.


  • Join Karin, Johannes, Alex, and Janina in this week’s episode of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries exploring the Wendelstein and the Wasserfall Tatzelwurm before relaxing by the Lagerfeuer (campfire) on the banks of the lake bei Sonnenuntergang (at sunset). As we enjoy the journey, Mark and Andrea review the language used in Karin’s travel diary, this time, focusing on methods of transport and prepositions in German. Listen to the podcast | Access the course
  • For beginner learners of German, our  Coffee Break German To Go Season 1 features simpler questions and answers. In Episode 2, Julia asks the question: woher kommst du? (Where do you come from?). Wondering how you would respond to this question in German? Check out the episode by clicking here.

Watch new PowerLanguage Challenge videos

25 May 2020 (PowerLanguage)

Pupils in Scotland have been using their language skills to produce some quality videos. Take a look at these podcasts made by learners, for learners. Why not take up the challenge in your school? 


Modern Languages webinars

19 March 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

Along with our partners at e-Sgoil, the SCILT and CISS teams are currently working on live webinars to support youngsters working on National Qualifications in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin and Gaelic. This will compliment the work already being done by teachers across the country so that youngsters due to sit National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications do not have their learning interrupted. We will give further information via our usual networks and social media. 

Wee Write 2020

14 February 2020 (Aye Write, Wee Write)

As part of Glasgow's wider Aye Write annual book festival, Wee Write is specifically aimed at children and young people.

Award winning authors, Wee Write favourites and brand new faces will bring books alive at The Mitchell Library and inspire a lifelong love of reading in children. All schools are able to book sessions at the event with Glasgow schools receiving a discounted admission. This year's Wee Write event for schools runs from 2 - 6 March, with a family day also being held on Saturday 7 March.

There are several Scots and Gaelic sessions to be enjoyed and schools can book story sessions at local libraries in a range of foreign languages.

Visit the Wee Write website for more information and booking details.


Modern Language Assistants 2020-21 applications open

14 February 2020 (British Council)

The British Council Language Assistants team is now welcoming requests from host schools, colleges, universities and local authorities for the 2020-21 academic year.

Language Assistants are an invaluable resource for the development of language skills and the raising of inter-cultural awareness. Language Assistants can help learners build their confidence while gaining new cultural insights. Assistants are native speakers of French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin from our 14 partner countries around the globe.

Visit the website to apply or contact the Language Assistants team for more information at

British Council Language Assistants banner


Federico Fellini centenary festival

20 January 2020 (Istituto Italiano di Cultura Edimburgo)

Discover the fascinating world and unparalleled work of Italian film-maker, Federico Fellini. This unique festival at the Filmhouse Edinburgh celebrates the centenary of his birth, with several screenings running from January through to March 2020.

Most are foreign language screenings with subtitles. Several of the titles are suitable for children.

Visit the Filmhouse website for further information and to book.


Languages affected differently by brain disease

11 January 2020 (BBC)

There are differences in the way English and Italian speakers are affected by dementia-related language problems, a small study suggests.

While English speakers had trouble pronouncing words, Italian speakers came out with shorter, simpler sentences.

The findings could help ensure accurate diagnoses for people from different cultures, the researchers said. Diagnostic criteria are often based on English-speaking patients.


New job profile on the SCILT website

6 December 2019 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of careers where languages are in use. Our most recent addition comes from Marion Geoffray, a theatre maker and drama teacher, who is the artistic director of Theatre Sans Accents, an innovative bilingual theatre company in Edinburgh.

Marion performs in several languages and believes immersing yourself in the language and culture is the most effective way to learn and to have fun!

Teachers use this resource with your pupils to support the Developing the Young Workforce initiative and highlight the benefits of language learning as a life skill.


The Ramshorn and Graveyard Digital Trail - now available!

23 October 2019 (SCILT)

If you find yourself in the Merchant City area of Glasgow why not complete our new 'The Ramshorn and Graveyard' digital trail? Pupils from Glasgow Gaelic School, Holyrood Secondary, Shawlands Academy and St Roch's Secondary worked with SCILT and Global Treasure Apps to create a multilingual trail around the new SCILT and CISS premises. The trail encourages visitors to learn about the history of the area by following clues set by the pupils, and gives people the chance to test their language skills.

The Ramshorn and Graveyard Digital Trail is available to download from Global Treasure Apps in Arabic, English, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish and Urdu.

Find Global Treasure Apps on the App store or Google Play


Celtic ace Ewan Henderson hails brother Liam as an inspiration after Serie A venture

20 October 2019 (The Scottish Sun)

Liam Henderson's Italian is coming on nicely — but brother Ewan reckons his success speaks for itself.

Celtic kid Ewan, 19, is following in Liam’s footsteps by coming through the ranks at Parkhead. Liam, 23, is playing for Hellas Verona in Serie A after helping them to promotion last season.

[...]“He’s taking Italian lessons and his language skills have improved a lot since he first went over.

“There aren’t many boys from Scotland who have gone over and done what he’s done. It shows it’s possible for Scottish players to try things like that."


If Britain’s young love Europe so much why aren’t they learning the lingo?

18 October 2019 (Life Spectator)

Most of my friends are moderate Remainers. There’s the odd fanatic, the sort who go on marches demanding a People’s Vote. What I can’t understand is why none of them can speak French, German, or indeed any European language.

They go on holiday to Europe, but only to those parts where they won’t have to speak the lingo because fortunately Johnny Foreigner has had the good sense to learn English.

Something else that confuses me is the belief, most pungently articulated by David Aaronovitch, that Brexit will be reversed in a few years because those stuck-in-the-past Gammons will shuffle off this mortal coil to be replaced in the electorate by a shiny new Briton: young, cosmopolitan and forward-looking, who believe the sun shines out of the Brussels’ class. In which case, why are fewer school children than ever bothering to learn a foreign language?

According to a report in the BBC this year, the learning of foreign languages is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium. Since 2013 there has been a decline of between 30 to 50 per cent in the numbers taking GCSE language courses with German and French suffering most. That’s in England; in Northern Ireland the drop in pupils learning modern languages at GSCE is 40% while in Scotland there has been a 19% decline since 2014. And there was me thinking those two countries couldn’t get enough of all things European.

Furthermore, in March this year the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Modern Languages released a report stating that since 2000 more than fifty UK universities have cut language courses, or done away with departments entirely.

I blame the parents. In 2013 a report revealed that only a quarter of British adults were capable of holding even a basic conversation in a language other than English; of those, French was the most common, followed by German.


SQA Advanced Higher Languages Course Reports 2019

14 October 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published Advanced Higher Gaelic (Learners), German, Italian and Chinese languages course reports for the 2019 exam diet.

The reports provide information on candidates’ performance.

Visit the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage to access the reports.  


Into Film Festival 2019

3 October 2019 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.

Taking place from 6-22 November 2019 in various locations across the country, film titles will include premieres and the latest blockbusters alongside old favourites, documentaries, animations, short films, modern foreign language titles and much more, all mapped against curricula from across the four UK nations, and supported by the Festival's various educational resources.

Visit the website to discover screenings near you.


Yakety Yak Language Cafés

26 August 2019 (Yakety Yak)

Improve your foreign language conversation in a local café, in a small group with an experienced tutor. 

We meet

  • in the relaxed atmosphere of local cafes and bistros in Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • in small groups of similar level of fluency
  • with a tutor who is a native speaker for each group 
  • each session normally has a minimum of 2 tutors to cater for most abilities
  • No need to book - just drop in. However, if it is your first time with us, we recommend you phone or email us to discuss your level and the best session for you first

Conversation classes commence from 2 September 2019. Visit the website for details of sessions running in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. 


My bilingual romance started with a few Italian words

14 August 2019 (British Council)

Language barriers would stop 54 per cent of British people from having a holiday romance, according to a new poll. One British Council colleague tells us about her bilingual relationship. 

Was there a language barrier when you met your husband?

We were talking in English in the queue for a London nightclub and I realised he was probably Italian. I practised my opening line, and when he said he was Italian I said 'Oh, I knew it', in Italian.

We live together in London now. He had been in the UK for less than a year when we met, and so his English wasn't as good as it is now. My written Italian was good at the time, but I wasn't as good conversationally.


Queen Elizabeth II Can Speak This Foreign Language After Learning It Privately

5 November 2018 (International Business Times)

Queen Elizabeth II can speak at least one foreign language fluently after getting a private education by governess Marion Crawford.

Harriet Mallinson, a journalist for Express, revealed that Her Majesty can speak French fluently. French is regarded as the official language in 29 countries. But the Queen has used her knowledge in the language during her visits to France and Canada.

In 2014, the Queen went to Paris for a state visit and met with former President Francois Hollande. The two discussed the weather in French. During her fifth French State Visit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, the monarch also gave an address in both English and French. A year later, the Queen spoke with a schoolgirl from Dagenham in French.

But Mallinson noted that the most impressive instance was when the Queen went to Quebec in Canada and gave a speech in French for a straight 10 minutes. French language expert Camille Chevalier-Karfis commented on the Queen’s French-speaking videos.

“Her reading skills were excellent – both pronunciation and rhythm were very good, but you could feel she was quite tense,” she said.

In related news, the Queen isn’t the only royal that can speak French fluently. Prince Charles and the Queen’s three other children can all speak the language.


Related Links

Prince Harry greets audience in 6 languages (CNN, 31 October 2018)


25 October 2018 (SEET)

SEET is delighted to announce that registration is now open for Euroquiz 2018-19!

Euroquiz is an annual project open to all P6 pupils across Scotland, which sees teams of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe and the wider world. Subjects covered include languages, history, geography, culture and European affairs. Heats take place in every local authority from January to March, with the winning teams from all areas going forward to the National Euroquiz Final held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament in May.

See the attached flyer to find out more about how your school can get involved and visit the website to watch the Euroquiz Highlights Film for a taste of the Euroquiz journey, including interviews with previous participants and teachers.


Related Files

Get ready for Hallowe'en!

23 October 2018 (Various)

It's that time of year again and to help celebrate Hallowe'en in the languages classroom we've compiled a range of spooky resources! Click on the relevant link below for more information:

New language hub which helps dementia sufferers to open on Glasgow’s south side

3 October 2018 (Glasgow Live)

A new language hub which will help empower older adults living with dementia in Glasgow has opened on the south side of the city.

Lingo Flamingo, based on Deanston Drive in the Shawlands area, will be offering a selection of immersive foreign language courses for all ages.

And all profits from the classes will be used to fund dementia-friendly classes in care homes across Glasgow and beyond.


SQA course reports for Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2018

1 October 2018 (SQA)

The course reports for Advanced Higher Chinese, French, Gaelic (Learners), German, Italian and Spanish are now available on the SQA website.


SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages

19 September 2018 (SCHOLAR)

The schedule of online tutor sessions for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2018-19 is now available online.


Juvenes Translatores 2018

1 September 2018 (European Commission)

The European Commission has just launched Juvenes Translatores 2018, a translation contest for schools in the European Union. 

Schools wishing to participate must respond by registering electronically on the website between 1 September and 20 October 2018.

Selected schools will be able to enter between two and five students, who must have been born in 2001. Each student can choose to translate from any official EU language into any other official EU language.

Further information, rules and criteria can be found on the Juvenes Translatores website.


The care home residents proving it's never too late to learn a new language

25 July 2018 (The Guardian)

French and Italian classes are improving self-confidence and wellbeing as well as cognition – even for those with dementia.


Tories attack language teaching ‘failures’

26 April 2018 (The Times)

The number of pupils taking Higher French and German has fallen as interest in Italian and Chinese rises.

The number of pupils studying any Higher modern languages fell 6.2 per cent between 2016 and last year. Pupils studying Higher French fell by 14 per cent to 3,918 and German was down 13 per cent from 1,020 to 89. The number of students taking Higher Spanish hit 2,809, up 8 per cent on 2016; Italian rose 21 per cent to 264; Chinese languages grew in popularity by 16 per cent to 129; and Urdu rose by 13 per cent to 104. Those learning Gaelic at Higher level fell by 18 per cent, to 69.

(Subscription required to read full article).


Glasgow hotel to teach staff 10 new languages so they can welcome international guests

16 April 2018 (Glasgow Live)

A city centre hotel is extending a warm welcome to guests from all over the world - and in 10 different languages too.

Apex City of Glasgow’s concierge and reception staff are learning key phrases from 10 of the most commonly spoken languages among the hotel’s guests.

The move is part of a #WarmerWelcome project rolled out across Apex hotels, the Bath Street branch included.

Staff will be learning a how to speak in German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese and Danish.


Worldwide Napier magazine

5 April 2018 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Edinburgh Napier University is delighted to announce the publication of the very first issue of Worldwide Napier, a free magazine in which our students in languages (French, German, Italian and Spanish) showcase some of their work. It is available now on digital and soon a few print copies will circulate within Edinburgh.

Secondary school pupils are being invited to contribute articles for the forthcoming issues. View the magazine online and see the attached introductory letter for more information.



4 April 2018 (The Language Magician)

THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN online game was launched at Language World UK on 23 March 2018, and the game with many of its resources are already available on the website – free for teachers to access thanks to Erasmus+ funding.

THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN is an online game that draws in Primary children of all ages and challenges their language skills - in French, German, Italian, Spanish or English. It’s a game they like to play again so that they can do better, and it is also a tool for teachers to capture data about how their pupils do.

A final conference of the project is to be held in London on 19 May 2018, by which time all the accompanying project resources will be available.

To find out more about the game and conference see the attached flyer or visit the LANGUAGE MAGICIAN website. 


Related Files

Employ a language assistant for 2018/19

12 March 2018 (British Council)

Language Assistants provide an interactive language resource for your classroom. We recruit our assistants directly from their home countries, meaning their language and resources are always up-to-date and, importantly, authentic.

Native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese and Irish, they help pupils to build their confidence, develop conversational skills, boost motivation for learning, and better understand other cultures. Feedback from schools with a Language Assistant noted an improvement in pupils’ listening and speaking skills.

Not only that, many teachers have found that having a native speaker to talk to and share teaching ideas with can reinvigorate both their teaching practice and their own love for language learning. 

So, with applications now open for the 2018/2019 academic year, there hasn’t been a better time to ensure your classroom has access to the best language learning resource around – a native speaker.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to apply for your language assistant by 31 March 2018. Please note that the deadline for Chinese Language Assistants is 1 June 2018.


Euroquiz 2018

9 October 2017 (SEET)

Euroquiz, the annual project for P6 pupils in Scotland, is once again open for those wishing to participate in 2018.

The project, which sees team of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe and the wider world, includes coverage of foreign languages, history, geography, sport, culture and European affairs.

Heats take place in every local authority from January to March 2018, with the winning teams from all areas going forward to the National Euroquiz Final held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament in May 2018.

Visit the Scottish European Education Trust (SEET) website for more information about Euroquiz and how to register your school to take part.


Strathclyde University says ‘arrivederci’ to joint honours degrees in Italian

9 October 2017 (The Herald)

A university has downgraded the teaching of Italian sparking wider fears for the study of the country’s language and culture in Scotland.

Strathclyde University, in Glasgow, will no longer offer students the opportunity to study joint honours degrees in Italian.

Instead, the language will be taught at a more basic level in only the first and second years of a four year degree course.

The move brings to an end a long tradition at Strathclyde where students could combine subjects as diverse as architecture, engineering, law and politics with Italian to degree level.


Bilingual story book readings

1 September 2017 (The Language Hub)

The Language Hub in Glasgow provides regular bilingual story book sessions at Hillhead Library. The sessions are free to attend and, whilst aimed at pre-school children, everyone is welcome.

The next event takes place on 5 September with a Spanish/English reading of 'The Gruffalo'.

Further readings of different stories in a range of languages will take place during the Autumn. For details of all the available sessions from September to November visit the Language Hub's website.


Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2017: Open Word - Open World

28 August 2017 (Michael Kerins)

This exciting new project will run from 20 to 31 October 2017. The idea is to create new writing using vocabulary that differs by the addition of only one letter - one single letter and the meaning changes. Not only in English - but in a wide variety of languages.  

To find out more about the project and how you can participate, visit the website or contact


Vocab Express League of Champions 2017

21 August 2017 (Vocab Express)

The next League of Champions competition from Vocab Express will be taking place from 28 September to 4 October 2017.

It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 150 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students. Free spaces are still currently available!

Visit the website for more information and to register your school.

Teachers can also sign up for guest access to a free trial of the Vocab Express platform using their school or academic e-mail address.


New job profile on SCILT's website

18 August 2017 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of professions where languages are being used.

Our latest addition comes from Emma Gallacher, whose language skills have taken her from Scotland to the Costa Blanca, where she now works as receptionist for an established Real Estate firm. She firmly believes learning the language has enabled her to settle and integrate into the Spanish way of life.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.


Top marks for pupil who attended three Glasgow schools

9 August 2017 (Evening Times)

One student has defied the odds to become one of Glasgow’s top achievers while attending not one but three city schools. 

Valentina Kanife moved to Glasgow from her home country of Italy in September 2015. When the 16-year-old joined the S4 class in St Margaret Mary’s in Castlemilk, she could not speak any English. Soon after starting the school, it became apparent that Valentina had a skill for languages and began working towards gaining her National 4’s. 

Staff at St Margaret Mary’s staff organised for Valentina to attend Holyrood Secondary for Higher Italian and Kings Park Secondary for Higher ESOL, while being taught Higher Spanish and National 5 maths at her own school. With the help of a bus pass, the teenager travelled between the three schools, sometimes on the same day. After a year of handwork, Valentia managed to gain all three Highers and a National 5 Maths qualifications, all within two years of being in Glasgow.


SQA update - National 5 Modern Languages

SQA (23 June 2017)

The following documents will be available for all National 5 Modern Languages courses by the afternoon of Friday 23 June:
  • Coursework assessment task - assignment (writing)
  • Coursework assessment task - performance (talking)
  • Course support notes
The course support notes will be added to the National 5 course specification as an appendix. The course specification will then be updated to version 2.0 and the date will change to June 2017, but there is no further change to the content of this document.


New earpiece translates foreign languages as you have a conversation

20 June 2017 (The Independent)

A new device that delivers foreign language translations directly to your ear almost instantly has just gone on sale.

The Translate One2One has been hailed as a real-world equivalent of the Babel fish, the famous fictional creature from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s powered by IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, and takes between three and five seconds to complete a translation and play it to you.

It currently works across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese.

However, both people in a conversation need to be wearing one.

Lingmo International, the company behind it, claims the Translate One2One is clever enough to avoid common translation stumbling blocks.


Modern Language Assistants (MLA) Projects 2016-17

15 June 2017 (SCILT / British Council)

Every year language assistants try to make languages really come alive for young people in Scotland's schools, e.g. by initiating a language exchange, participating in language competitions, or by organising immersion days. 

In this blog you can browse through the work of last year's assistants. You can search the slides either by language or by school year group. Enjoy, and we hope you will be inspired to follow in their footsteps!


Falkirk win at Euroquiz final

16 May 2017 (SEET)

Congratulations to the P6 team from Comely Park Primary School, who won the Scottish European Educational Trust’s National Euroquiz Final 2017, which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 15th May 2017.

Team members Tamsin Gold, Edwin Walker, Robyn Dewar-Young and Jaymie Jones were crowned SEET’s Euroquiz Champions 2017 at the national final. The winners were closely followed by St Leonard’s Primary School team from South Lanarkshire, in a nail-biting final round. Sciennes Primary School from Edinburgh also did incredibly well, winning the prize for third place.

Euroquiz is run by the Scottish European Educational Trust, a non-political charity, which promotes education about language learning, Europe and the wider world amongst Scotland’s young people.

See the attached press release for full details about this year's competition and participating schools.

If your school might like to take part in future competitions, visit the SEET website for more information.


Related Files

Related Links

Third Place in Euroquiz 2017! (Sciennes Primary School, 15 May 2017) - post includes photos and links to the event on Parliament TV.

Young Language Learner Award - 2017

15 May 2017 (B small publishing)

The Young Language Learner Awards are back!

B small publishing are inviting children and young people to write a four-page story in a foreign language they are learning (choose from Chinese, English, French, German, Italian or Spanish) to be in with a chance of winning books worth £50.

One winner will be picked from the under 6 category and one winner from the 6 and over entries.

Visit the website for full details and to submit entries by 15 June 2017.


Language Perfect World Championships 2017

12 May 2017 (ALL)

This year's Language Perfect World Championships take place from 15 - 25 May.

Students participate in the world's largest online languages event over 10 days with the chance to earn certificates and qualify for awards and prizes by translating between their target language and English. The competition is relevant for everyone, whatever their ability.

The first 500 schools to register will receive 50 free entries. (ALL members can register all students for free).

Find out more about the competition via the ALL webpage and the competition website.


Leaving Certificate language students ‘learning off’ exam answers

11 May 2017 (Irish Examiner)

(Relates to Ireland) In a series of reports on student performance in language exams last June, chief examiners say students must learn how to adapt, instead of using learned-off answers.

The issues were most acute in the 2016 Leaving Certificate exams in Spanish, French, and Italian.

There are many positive aspects, particularly about the competencies of more able students of the six languages, which also included German, Japanese, and Russian.

But in oral exams, which are worth between 20% and 25% of marks in language subjects, a common concern is that students have prepared answers.

The Spanish Leaving Certificate examiner reported, for example, that a number of students had been taught in a “rote-learning” manner that prevented the natural flow of conversation.

“Many candidates had prepared a range of topics in the general conversation, but, when gently disengaged from rote-learned topics, found it difficult to communicate effectively in the target language,” the reports said.

The reports are published today by the State Examinations Commission (SEC), whose chief examiner in Leaving Certificate French said most students were well-prepared for the orals and had a high degree of proficiency and fluency.

However, at the other end of the scale, some of the 25,758 students examined in the subject had difficulty answering even simple questions.


uTalk takes language learning to new heights with Emirates, the world’s largest international airline

26 April 2017 (uTalk)

London-based language experts uTalk are helping passengers on Emirates Airline prepare for arrival with new inflight language videos. They’ve produced a series of films, which can be seen on all Emirates flights, giving travellers an introduction to five languages, with beginner lessons covering first words, food and drink and getting around.


New job profile on the SCILT website

21 April 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from David Rodger, Area Manager at Amazon Germany. He tells how people engage with you and realise you're on their side if you demonstrate the willingness to understand their language and culture.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.


Summary of SQA Course Reports for Higher and AH Modern Languages 2016

16 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages and Gàidhlig. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2016 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty.

They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

The summary reports are attached below and can also be found on the Senior Phase, Essentials for Planning page on the SCILT website under the SQA Qualifications tab.


Articulate Language Camps 2017

1 March 2017 (Articulate Language Camps)

Articulate Language Camps run an International Camp (12-17 year olds) and Launch Camp (6-11 year olds) each summer in Scotland.

The International camp brings together young people aged 12-17 from across Europe and beyond to share their language and culture and provides the opportunity to learn French, Spanish, German, Italian or English.

The Launch camp gives young campers the chance to experience the same languages in a fun and interactive way, learning through digital media projects and outdoor activities.

Find out more in the Articulate Language Camps videos on YouTube where you will also find links to their online brochure and registration form. Follow the relevant link below for more information about each camp:
You can find out more about Articulate Language Camps by visiting their main website.


Cappuccino with extra Italian? Pop-up classes bring a buzz to adult learning

21 February 2017 (The Guardian)

It’s a rainy February evening in a Costa coffee shop in East Putney, south-west London. The shop is closed to the public but a group of men and women are gathered there, drinking coffee and practising Italian phrases with teacher Alessandro Fantauzzo. Two are here for work reasons, others to build their language confidence for holidays.

In the past, they might have gone to a night class at a local adult education college. But over the past decade, funding for courses that don’t lead to a formal qualification has been slashed. Since 2010, the adult learning budget has been cut by about 40%, meaning the days when adults could learn flower arranging, languages or guitar at their local college in the evenings – for a subsidised fee or even free – are long gone.

It was this that gave former teacher and social entrepreneur Jason Elsom the idea of offering night classes in coffee shops. Approached by the coffee chain Costa to help develop its charitable foundation, which aims to extend education opportunities, he suggested it offer space in its shops for tutors and their students.


Absolutely Fabulous 25th anniversary: watch a clip from the show in six different languages

20 February 2017 (The Independent)

Edina and Patsy remain fabulous in every language.

Absolutely Fabulous is now coming up to its 25th anniversary, with the BBC Worldwide Showcase commemorating the occasion by releasing a clip which cuts together a scene in six different European languages: English, Italian, German, Spanish, Czech, and French.

It's all part of an effort to celebrate its expansive global success, which last year saw the release of the pair's own feature film debut in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; launching stars Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders on their escape to the French Riviera after an incident at a fashion launch party sends Kate Moss tumbling into the Thames.


Boost language attainment with a Modern Language Assistant

8 February 2017 (British Council)

Modern Language Assistants bring authentic language and culture to the classroom. In a recent survey of host schools, Heads of Languages reported improved exam results – raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more. The support of an Assistant is particularly valuable with the on-going focus on languages in the 1+2 initiative, and can particularly help to complement the development of language teaching in primary schools.

The British Council Language Assistants programme draws on over 100 years of experience with overseas education authorities to provide a trusted, high quality service.

Applications are now open! For more information visit the British Council website.

In 2016 the Erasmus+ UK National Agency awarded nearly €1.2m+ to Scotland’s schools and colleges for Key Action 2 (KA2) Strategic Partnerships, and 70% of Scottish applications for school-only partnerships were successful. The next Erasmus+ funding deadline is 29 March. If you are planning to apply, access our tailored guidance for school-only applications and school education applications; pre-recorded videos; and telephone support sessions.


Yakety Yak Language Cafés in Glasgow

31 January 2017 (Yakety Yak)

Yakety Yak has some new venues for French and Italian language cafés in Glasgow.

Visit their website for more information.


Scottish Education Awards 2017

19 January 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education. They recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

There's still time to submit nominations for the Awards, so get your entries in for the Making Languages Come Alive (Primary) and Gaelic Education/Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig.awards before the closing date of 15 February 2017.

Visit the Scottish Education Award website to make your nomination.


Italian is under assault from rising number of Anglicisms, sloppy use of verbs and shrinking vocabulary, guardians of the language warn

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

The Italian language is under assault from a growing tide of English words, the abandoning of verb tenses and a shrinking vocabulary, and could be driven to extinction altogether, the head of the country’s most illustrious language institute has warned.

The language of Dante and Petrarch is becoming vulgarised and made more simplistic as young people dispense with the subjunctive and future tenses and sprinkle their day-to-day language with Anglicisms, even where there are perfectly adequate Italian alternatives, according to the Accademia della Crusca, an academy that guards the purity of Italian, said.

“There’s been a big increase in the number of foreign words and expressions and the trend will continue, above all with English words,” said Prof Claudio Marazzini, the president of the academy, which was founded in Florence in 1582. “We are heading towards a more meagre Italian.”

Thousands of words are at risk of extinction through not being used anymore in daily discourse, he said. They include “accolito” (acolyte, henchman), “maliardo” (bewitching), “tremebondo” (tremulous, trembling), “zufolare” (to whistle), and “abbindolare” (to be taken for a ride, to be led by the nose).


SQA update to AH Modern Languages guidance on past paper usage

16 January 2017 (SQA)

The SQA has produced updated guidance documents on the use of past paper questions for Advanced Higher Modern Languages (Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, German and Gaelic learners).

These can be found on the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage under the 'Specimen Question Papers and Marking Instructions' section.


How to learn a language this year: ‘Will a virtual teacher work for me?'

7 January 2017 (The Guardian)

Italian, for me, has always been the one that got away. At school, French and Latin came easily, but for some reason I chose German as my third language. After getting into university to study French and Italian, I decided I’d rather lie around reading novels for three years and switched to English. In my 20s, I signed up for an evening class, but it was full and I was bumped into Spanish. Though it’s far more useful – the second-most widely spoken language in the world – Spanish just wasn’t the same.


SEET update

28 November 2016 (SEET)

Find out the latest about the Our Europe and Euroquiz competitions for Scottish schools in SEET's November 2016 newsletter.


Language within

18 November 2016 (What's on Glasgow)

Language classes for adults, kids and teens in the heart of Glasgow.  Choose from English, Italian, Spanish, French and Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information.


Language assistants risk being lost in translation

11 November 2016 (TESS)

Most schools still do not have access to a modern language assistant, new figures show, amid fears that the scheme will wither away if a key source of funding is stopped.

Native speakers of foreign languages have long come to Scotland to work in schools and help teachers to bring those subjects to life. But as local authorities cut budgets, their numbers fell as low as 72 by 2013-14.

Figures obtained by TESS show that the provisional number of modern language assistants (MLAs) has risen to 146 this year, including 23 in independent schools.

The data from British Council Scotland – which arranges for MLAs to work in the country – show increased numbers in all five languages that are part of the scheme: French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish.

But there is still some way to go to match the 278 MLAs that were working in schools in 2005-06 – the highest number since existing records began in 2003.

The picture also varies markedly around the country: 18 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have no MLAs, while Edinburgh has the most with 25, and even a small council like Angus has as many as 19.

Lucy Young, head of education at British Council Scotland, said that councils often used funding from the Scottish government’s 1+2 languages programme to recruit MLAs at an annual cost of about £10,000 per assistant.

Under the programme – being rolled out in all primary schools – pupils are expected to have knowledge of two languages other than their own by the time they reach secondary.

But this key funding is due to be stopped in 2020 – putting schools’ access to MLAs at risk.

Read the full article on TESS online, 11 November 2016 (subscription required).


New job profile on the SCILT website

11 November 2016 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed to be used in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work. They provide really relevant careers advice on languages, direct from the workplace, and cover a range of sectors. See our latest addition:
  • Claire Murphy, Translator - a translator at the European Commission, Claire speaks Spanish, German and Italian and is currently learning French. She explains how cultural knowledge is as important as language skills in her role.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.


By the numbers: the decline of specialist subjects

4 November 2016 (TESS)

Although archaeology is going to be withdrawn as an A-level option, there are other subjects that attract far fewer students.

[..] In Scotland, the lowest number of entries for a subject at Higher was for Gaelic as a foreign language, with 84, while 92 students took Urdu.

The full list of lowest entry A Levels / Highers is available in TESS online, 4 November 2016 (subscription required).


Euroquiz 2016-17

24 October 2016 (SEET)

SEET is very pleased to announce that Euroquiz 2016-17 has now officially launched! We run an annual Euroquiz for P6 pupils, promoting education about Europe and encouraging the development of foreign language skills and intercultural competencies amongst young people in Scotland.

If you are interested in finding out more about Euroquiz, visit the SEET website where you can watch our promo video, or contact Primary schools will receive information via their local authority including a registration form.


The top 9 languages for the highest-paid jobs in Britain

26 September 2016 (The Independent)

Learning a second language can be extremely lucrative for your career opportunities.

And after jobs search engine Adzuna analysed over 1 million live job postings on its website, it found out that some languages are more likely to get you a higher paid job than others in Britain, when employers advertised for jobs looking for someone who was at least bi-lingual.

Considering the UK voted to leave the European Union — dubbed a Brexit — and the nation does not know what that would entail for the jobs market, Adzuna's cofounder pointed out that having a second language could become even more sought-after, especially if businesses look to relocate overseas.


Joe Hart ready to embrace Italian culture at Torino after loan move from Manchester City

16 September 2016 (Sky Sports)

Joe Hart says he is ready to embrace the Italian culture after moving to Torino on a season-long loan from Manchester City.

[..] Hart has emphasised the importance of getting to grips with a new culture, and even opened Friday's press conference by speaking in Italian.

"I don't speak very good Italian (yet). I think that's obvious but I am doing my best to learn and buy into the culture because this really is a beautiful part of the world," said Hart.


Vocab Express League of Champions 2016

1 September 2016 (Vocab Express)

Share in the excitement and energy generated by the Vocab Express League of Champions. The championship will run from Wednesday 28 September until Tuesday 4 October 2016. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 150 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students.

There are currently 84 free non-subscriber school places left. Visit the website for more information and to register now!


Vocab Express League of Champions 2016

20 June 2016 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school to kick-start the new academic year!

Share in the excitement and energy generated by the Vocab Express League of Champions. The championship will run from Wednesday 28 September until Tuesday 4 October 2016. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 100 free school places available to non-subscribers.

Visit the League of Champions website to find out more and to register for one of the free school places. 


Articulate Language Camps

9 June 2016 (Articulate Language Camps)

Articulate Language Camps are based in Scotland and offer a variety of programmes from school day camps to residential summer camps as well as exam revision and CPD for teachers.

Tuition is offered in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German to learners aged 3-17, with a unique method of teaching through digital media projects, such as animation and podcasting, and adventure activities which take learning into the great outdoors. So, whether campers are taking an archery class in German, singing campfire songs in French or making a film in Spanish, they are having fun while learning in a meaningful way.

New this year is the International Camp in Italian. Find out more from camp leader, Lisa, in this short video 'Una breve introduzione ai nostri programmi' and for further information about Articulate Language Camps and all their programmes, visit the website.


Funded International Learning Experience

8 June 2016 (Education Scotland)

The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education has forwarded on this invite from the Italian Ministry for a Scottish secondary school to participate in a learning experience focused on global interdependence, rights, migration, asylum seekers and refugees.

The successful school would engage pupils in preparatory learning experiences in their own school during September to prepare for a conference in Lampedusa, Italy, in October.

Visit Education Scotland's Learning Blog for more information about the opportunity.  Schools should apply by 16 June 2016.


Summer language learning at Strathclyde

27 May 2016 (University of Strathclyde)

The University of Strathclyde's 2016 summer programme includes options to learn French, German, Italian and Spanish as well as a taster session 'Break into Hebrew.'

Visit the website to access the programme giving full details of the courses available over the summer.


Research participants wanted: Italian-English bilinguals

2 May 2016 (Bilingualism Matters)

Scientists working on the EU funded AThEME project are looking to recruit Italian-English bilingual adults for their research into how people process multiple languages.

If you're a native Italian speaker aged between 18-40 and would like to take part, visit the Bilingualism Matters website for more information and to register interest.


Study a language at LSE this summer

25 April 2016 (LSE careers blog)

Did you know that the LSE Language Centre offers summer courses? Each year, ‘Summer Languages’ has grown to include more languages, levels and courses of different levels of intensity. You may want to consolidate the language skills you have learned during the academic year, or you may want to try learning a language as a beginner. You could even restart learning a language you were taught at school.

More information about all the courses and languages available can be found on the LSE Summer Languages website.


SQA National 5 Modern Languages Course Reports Summary

19 April 2016 (SCILT)

We have summarised the SQA National 5 Course Reports for all languages. These reports contain important information on how candidates performed in last year's exams. Teachers may find it useful to share some of the key messages of these reports with candidates in advance of this year's exams.

The summary document can be found on the Essentials for Planning in the Senior Phase section of our website.


Welsh footballers help pupils go global

23 March 2016 (Welsh Government)

Players from the Wales National Football team have been doing their bit to help pupils concentrate on their modern foreign languages lessons by launching a new learning resource pack linked to this year’s Euros.

The educational resources have been produced as part of the Welsh Government’s Global Futures plan which aims to improve and promote modern foreign languages in Wales.

The Euros-based resources have been published on Hwb, the digital learning platform for schools, so teachers can capitalise on their pupil’s excitement in the run up to June’s tournament, and use the packs to promote the importance and relevance of modern foreign languages.


Employ a language assistant in Scottish schools

26 February 2016 (British Council)

Employing a British Council language assistant is a unique way to broaden your students understanding of the world, improve their language skills and increase their cultural awareness.

Language assistants are dynamic, enthusiastic native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Russian, and are usually undergraduates or recent graduates. As we recruit language assistants directly from their home countries, their language is up-to-date, the classroom resources they provide are relevant and authentic, and they will be well placed to connect with students on their own level . Simply put, employing a language assistant provides the kind of learning experience that cannot be found elsewhere.

The deadline for applications has been extended to 31 May 2016. Visit the British Council website to find out more and to apply. Follow the relevant section on the webpage to find out specifically about employing a Chinese language assistant.


Jhumpa Lahiri: ‘I am, in Italian, a tougher, freer writer’

31 January 2015 (Guardian)

The author’s new book, written in Italian and accompanied by English translation, is the result of an infatuation with Italy that began with her first visit in 1994. Here, the Pulitzer winner recounts her journey towards fluency, and answers the Guardian's Q&A


Shakespeare Lives 2016

25 January 2016 (British Council)

This Shakespeare Lives schools’ pack has been created by the British Council in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.

Specially designed to encourage learning across the curriculum, the resource is split into five key themes; Leadership and Power, Family and Relationships, Identity and Equality, Fate and Destiny, Justice and Rules. Within each themed section you will find a wide range of activities for pupils aged 7-14. These can be used as starting points in individual lessons or as elements of a cross-curricular project, which could be carried out with a partner school overseas.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to download the pack. On the site is a link to a number of videos created as part of the celebration. In addition to the English version, the 'Shakespeare Lives in 2016' animation is also available on YouTube in French, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Mandarin.


Thinking about a degree at Oxford? Why not try us out for a week this summer?

20 January 2016 (Oxford University)

Would you like to spend a week with us this summer, living in an Oxford college, learning about a modern foreign language and its culture, and getting a taste of what it’s like to study here as a student? All entirely FREE of charge, food and accommodation included? (We’ll even pay for your train ticket to get here.)

If you’re currently in Year 12 (S5) of a state school, and have some free time in July this year, please do think about signing up for the course, or for one of the dozens of others on offer, including German, Spanish, or ‘beginner languages’ to give you a little experience of Russian, Portuguese and Italian languages and cultures.

The French summer school runs from 2-8 July this year, the German summer school and the Beginner Languages school both run from 16-22 July, and Spanish is 23-29 July.

Visit the website for more information and to apply by 3 February 2016.


SQA Higher Modern Languages Course Reports (2015)

7 January 2016 (SCILT / SQA)

We have summarised the Higher Modern Languages Course Reports and highlighted the key messages across all the languages.

These reports contain information on how candidates performed in the 2015 exam diet and give important advice on how to prepare candidates for forthcoming examinations, as well as for the Performance of Talking

The full reports can be accessed on the SQA website.


Do you speak Star Wars?

16 December 2015 (The Conversation)

Unless you are C3-PO, fluent in more than six million forms of communication, you may not understand every Star Wars language. I’m not talking about the languages spoken in the saga such as Shyriiwook, Huttese, Bocce or even Binary (beep beep doop!), but the languages into which the Star Wars films have been translated.

Take the title of the saga, for example. Whereas in most languages the translation has kept the words “war” and “stars” (La guerre des étoiles in French, Krieg der Sterne in German, and Guerre stellari in Italian, for example) the Spanish translation refers to the war of the galaxies (La guerra de las galaxias).


Our Films:Our Europe

15 December 2015 (SEET)

We have now reached the end of the first stage in the Our Films:Our Europe project. We are delighted to announce that the following schools will be joining us in one of our three film-making workshops. During the workshop pupils will have all day to work with media professionals to shoot and edit their films, bringing their ideas to life.

  • Balfron High (Stirling)
  • Holyrood Secondary (Glasgow)
  • Lenzie Acadmey (East Dunbartonshire)
  • Drumchapel High School (Glasgow)
  • Harlaw Academy (Aberdeen City)
  • West Calder High School (West Lothian)
  • Larbert High School (Falkirk)
  • Kirkcaldy High (Fife)
  • St Mungos High School (Falkirk)
  • Falkirk Hgih School (Falkirk)
  • Bishopbriggs Academy (East Dunbartonshire)
  • Auchinleck Acadmeny (East Ayrshire)
  • St Roch's Secondary (Glasgow)
  • St Luke's High School (East Renfrewshire)
  • Cardinal Newman (North Lanarkshire)

A big thank you and well done to all of the schools who have participated in the project so far!

You can find out more about the film-making project on the SEET website.


SQA updates - Advanced Higher Modern Languages

14 December 2015 (SQA)

The SQA has updated a number of files on their Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage.

A list of updates is attached and the files can be accessed on the SQA website.


Related Files

Interview with Marc Joss: football translator and interpreter (part 1)

7 December 2015 (The Language of Football)

Marc Joss is a London-based football translator and interpreter. He speaks Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and English.

Marc has been involved in a host of high-profile translation projects including Guillem Balagué’s Messi, Barça: The Official Illustrated History of FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography, as well as translating for the English version of He also works with Premier League clubs as an interpreter.

In the first of a two part interview, we talk to Marc about his translation work.


SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

3 December 2015 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled resources from around the world for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!


Our Europe film making competition - deadline approaching

25 November 2015 (SEET)

The deadline for the Our Europe film-making project is fast approaching, but don't worry, there's still time to sign up! Entries must be in by 10 December 2015, so if you want to sign up and haven't yet done so make sure you do it soon! If you have teams of S3-6 pupils who are interested in taking part please complete the registration form.

We are also adding new features to our Script Centre tool, designed to help students with scripting the language component of the project.

We have been extremely busy over the past few weeks making visits to schools all across Scotland and it has been great to see such enthusiasm for the project from students. For more information about the Our Europe project, please visit our website. Remember, it's not too late to sign up!


Euroquiz 2016

9 November 2015 (SEET)

The Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) runs an annual Euroquiz for P6 pupils, which sees teams of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe. Subjects covered include history, geography, sport, culture, languages and the European Union.

Heats take place in local authorities from January to March, with the winning teams from all areas going forward to the national final in May.

Plans for Euroquiz 2016 are now underway and schools are invited to register their interest with their local authority Euroquiz co-ordinator.

Further information about the competition and preparation materials are available on the SEET website.


Languagenut supports 1+2

3 November 2015 (SALT)

Languagenut is a professional teaching tool that offers teaching resources across 19 world languages, including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Gaelic and Mandarin. Languagenut also supports EAL students by offering 80 native languages as support to learn English.

It is the perfect tool to support the 1+2 approach to language learning, as all audio files are recorded by native speakers. With a range of games, songs and stories, Languagenut supports the four key skills of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

In addition, Languagenut offers special integrated tools which allow teachers both create their own classes and content, and also set and track homework, generate certificates and evaluate students’ progress in real time. These timesaving tools help teachers to deliver more personalised teaching and customise lessons to fit each individual.

Accessible at school and at home and through GLOW, Languagenut helps to bridge the gap between classroom and home learning and is free for all Scottish schools.


Young Applicants in Schools (YASS)

10 September 2015 (Open University)

The Open University's Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) gives S6 students in Scotland the opportunity to study at higher education level without leaving friends and family behind. Study fits around school work and social lives, encourages independent learning and builds confidence.

YASS is designed to bridge the gap between school and full-time university and help able and motivated students stand out from the crowd. Over 500 young people from more than 100 schools took Open University modules last year.

YASS is a unique opportunity for S6 students in Scottish schools to bridge the gap between school and full-time university through independent learning. Run by The Open University in Scotland, YASS offers motivated and able students a chance to study a range of university level modules in school alongside their other studies. Language options are available in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.


Magnifico! Italian language pupils are top of the class

31 August 2015 (Herald)

A pioneering project to teach primary pupils some of their lessons in Italian to boost language learning has had remarkable results. Seventeen pupils from the junior school of St Aloysius' College, in Glasgow, recorded A passes in their Intermediate 1 Italian language exams - qualifications which are normally sat by pupils in the third year of secondary.


SQA vacancies - Visiting Assessors for AH Modern Languages

28 August 2015 (SQA)

SQA is currently seeking to recruit additional Visiting Assessors (VA) to conduct Talking assessments at Advanced Higher level in Modern Languages.

Applications can be found following the relevant links below. You will also find information here relating to contract specification, selection criteria and key performance measures.

Closing date for all applications: 1 November 2015.

Vocab Express League of Champions 2015

14 August 2015 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school to kick-start the new academic year! The championship will run from Wednesday 30 September until Tuesday 6 October 2015. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are currently still 50 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students.


Language study bounces back after a decade of decline

10 August 2015 (The Herald)

A long-term decline in the number of pupils studying languages at Higher appears to have been reversed.

New figures show most modern languages have seen an increase in entries in 2015 after years where numbers have fallen.

Statistics from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) show French has seen a 10 per cent increase with entries rising to 4,572.

Spanish continues a remarkable rise over the past decade with entries rising 28 per cent to 2413.


First and Second Level Modern Languages Learning Map Updates

27 July 2015 (Education Scotland)

Updates to first and second level learning maps are now available on the Education Scotland website.


Budding police constables must speak second language in Met pilot scheme

20 July 2015 (The Guardian)

Aspiring police constables must speak a second language to join London’s Metropolitan police under a month-long pilot scheme.

Scotland Yard is hoping the new criterion will help police “engage with London’s diverse communities as effectively as possible”.

From Monday, to be considered for one of the sought-after positions with the capital’s police force, applicants must speak one of 14 languages as well as English. 

They are: Arabic, Bengali, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Spanish, Turkish or Yoruba (Nigeria).


Related Links

Language recruitment campaign launched (Metropolitan Police, 20 July 2015)

Forget French and Mandarin - Arabic is the language to learn

12 July 2015 (The Independent)

The 10-year-old was looking at the card in front of him which showed an image of a fish. “Samak,” he said decisively.

He and his classmates at Horton Park primary school, in Bradford, have been learning Arabic for three years now, courtesy of a drive by the British Council to boost the take-up of the language in state schools.


Italian courses at Strathclyde University

8 June 2015 (SALT)

Anyone interested in adding Italian to the languages they teach, or simply interested in studying the language to degree level, may be interested in a new three-year cycle of our GTC accredited Certificate of Continuing Education in Italian, at the University of Strathclyde which is due to get underway (numbers permitting) in September 2015.

Direct entry to second year (September 2016) is also possible for suitably qualified applicants.

Apply by 30 June 2015 for September 2015 entry.


How to teach ... Italian

23 March 2015 (Guardian)

Europe’s language of romance (and pizza) will be vital to the UK over the next 20 years. Here’s how to tackle it in your classroom.


The Open University ‘Young Applicants in Schools Scheme’ (YASS)

12 March 2015 (Open University)

YASS is designed to bridge the gap between school and full-time university, giving S6 students in Scotland the opportunity to fit study around school work and social lives. The scheme is intended to encourage independent learning and build confidence.

On this programme students may study from a wide range of subject areas across the university; from the Department of Languages, we offer beginners and intermediate modules (French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Welsh), an introductory languages and cultures module and also modules in English (academic purposes and professional communication skills for business).

Funding for the scheme is through the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), which fully supports students from local authority schools studying one of the modules on the scheme.

For further information please visit the Open University website and if you have any queries please contact


'Teaching languages to Caregivers' free resources pack

3 March 2015 (TLC Pack Project)

The European project TLC Pack, 'Teaching languages to Caregivers' has completed its first phase of development and published FREE language learning resources. The resources are primarily aimed at migrants entering or working in the care sector, but as we have found through our pilot testing, they are equally valued by language teachers.

The project will continue to produce a total of 30 video dialogues with accompanying in-class and out-of-class activities; currently printable but ultimately available via an online interactive platform. 

The pilot videos in German, Italian and Spanish can be accessed on the website.  You can also download the attached newsletter giving further details about the project.


Related Files

Yakety Yak Language Cafés

15 January 2015 (Yakety Yak Language Café)

Want to improve your conversational skills in another language?  Yakety Yak Language Café offers opportunities to speak French, Spanish, German, Italian, Gaelic, Portuguese, Chinese or Russian in Edinburgh.

Sessions are held in cafés, bistros and bars and are suitable for those with a basic knowledge of the language and the ability to hold a simple conversation.  A number of options are available both daytime and evening.

Check out the Yakety Yak Language Café website for more information.


Employ a Language Assistant

13 January 2015 (British Council)

Language assistants help bring culture alive in schools across the country and are an ideal way to improve language learning for students and to increase their global awareness, as well as support the implementation of a 1+2 approach to language learning.

Applications to the latest round of the language assistant programme open on January 26 and bids from schools are encouraged to be submitted by the end of March. To help spread the cost, each language assistant can be shared between three schools.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to apply.


A day in the life of Julian Morgan

14 November 2014 (TES)

Commuting through forests, over rivers and across borders is a daily undertaking for this British teacher at a German school, who delights in languages and gets his ideas from a ‘tree of inspiration’


War Poems on the Underground

3 November 2014 (The Poetry Society)

The autumn 2014 set of Poems on the Underground commemorates the centenary of the First World War. War Poems on the Underground are on display in London Underground cars from 6 October 2014 through November, with additional posters on London Overground and selected station sites in a major expansion of our programme, supported by TfL. Poems by English, French, Italian and Austrian poets, written during the heat of war service, stress themes of brotherhood and reconciliation, and the ways in which “we said goodbye to a whole epoch” (Apollinaire).

Visit the Poetry Society website to see extracts from some of the poems and follow the link to the Guardian's article below with tips on writing war poetry.


Related Links

How to teach ... war memorials and war poetry (The Guardian, 3 November 2014) - as Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday approaches, help your students appreciate war memorials and war poetry with our handy lesson ideas.

Language Perfect Northern Championships 2014

31 October 2014 (Language Perfect)

The search is on for the top language student and languages department in the northern hemisphere... The Northern Championships, taking place from 3-13 November 2014 , pitches students and schools in the northern hemisphere against one another, ONLINE and LIVE, from computers and iPod/Android apps. Teachers can watch the scoreboards for up-to-the-minute updates on how their school and students are going. Maybe your school will become the champions in 2014?

Visit the Language Perfect website for more information.


A series of blogs from the British Council on important languages for the UK’s future

10 October 2014 (British Council)

The final post in the British Council's weekly series on the ten most important languages for the UK’s future, as identified by the British Council’s Languages for the Future report, is about Mandarin Chinese. Here, the British Council’s Asmaa Ibrahim explains the characters, tonal differences, and sound similarities that make the language so fascinating.

Related Links

Read the other blogs in the series:

  • Arabic is in great demand and there’s a shortage of well-qualified speakers
  • Russian: beautiful, complex, and a window onto the unknown
  • Turkish: a fascinating structure and huge influence
  • The French language: romantic, precise, close to English
  • German and hipsters: the perfect match?
  • Single Japanese words can contain whole worlds of experience
  • How good is Italian for business?
  • Spanish: learning to speak the language of 400 million people
  • Which languages the UK needs and why

Cooking with strangers: the best way to learn a language?

3 October 2014 (Guardian)

Sarah Johnson struggles with shaping pizza dough, but she does pick up some Italian when taking a combined cookery and language class


Related Links

Learning language through cookery and technology (Science Daily, 22 September 2014 - Researchers at Newcastle University have cooked up a new way to teach modern languages.

Am I too old to learn a new language?

13 September 2014 (Guardian)

When Adrian Black met his Italian partner 10 years ago, he was determined to learn her home language. Having successively picked up French a decade earlier when he lived in France, he felt the challenge was attainable.

Eurotoolbox 2014-15

4 September 2014 (Goethe-Institut London)

The Eurotoolbox consists of 5 specially chosen collections of children's and youth literature from Europe in the original language - German, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian, with between 12 and 15 books in each language.

The exhibition of books is free to borrow for 2-4 weeks at a time and is available from September.

Visit the Eurotoolbox launch webpage for more information about the collections and contact Mariella Riccobono at the Italian Cultural Institute to arrange a booking slot: 


Trench talk: a guide to first world war slang

23 July 2014 (The Guardian)

During the first world war, troops fighting in the trenches used slang to communicate. Read the glossary guide to its meaning or view the interactive documentary, available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic or Hindi thanks to our partnership with the British Academy.


The b small Young Linguist of the Year Award 2014

14 May 2014 (bsmall publishing)

The b small Young Language Learner of the Year Award is open to all children in the UK aged 6 - 11 years and will run throughout the spring and summer terms. Children can enter their stories in French, Spanish, German, Italian, or, for the first time this year, Mandarin.

You can enter in one of two categories according to your age: 6-9 years or 9-11 years. We have included nine year olds in both categories in case you want to enter with your class.

Closing date for entries is 2 June 2014.


Exhibition of Third-year Students’ Research Projects in French, Italian & Spanish

1 May 2014 (SCILT)

Creativity, research and languages proved a great combination again last month in the 2nd annual ‘Exhibition of Third-year Students’ Research Projects in French, Italian & Spanish’ from the School of Humanities at University of Strathclyde. Groups of third-year students were given 'carte blanche' to research any aspect of life or identity in a country where the target language is spoken. Investigations ranged from art to women’s suffrage by way of gypsy culture, fashion, independence and music.

Led by lecturers Caroline Verdier and Lidia Acosta, the research challenge also features in two new SCILT blogs. Secondary learners considering studying Italian, Spanish or French at university might want to check out this student blog which details one of the groups’ process and learning in the course of their research project, or this poster blog showcasing the research posters in all three languages.

Information on both this year's and last year's Third Year Languages Research Projects can also be found on SCILT's 'Beyond School' section of the website.


Apply now for a Language Assistant. Bring language and culture alive with a native speaker in the classroom

20 March 2014 (British Council)

Support implementation of the 1 + 2 languages policy by hosting a Language Assistant in your school.

The British Council team is on hand at every step and our dedicated online support offers everything you need to get your pupils’ learning experience off to a great start. Our free service includes careful selection of the best candidate to suit your school, guidance on administration and training courses for Language Assistants.

How can Language Assistants help?

Their responsibilities can be tailored to suit your school’s requirements. Assistants can support the teaching of a first (L2) or a second (L3) modern language by:

  • supporting teachers’ language acquisition and improving their cultural knowledge
  • developing lesson plans and delivering classes on topics to complement different subject areas
  • running extra-curricular activities for additional support (e.g. lunch time clubs)
  • working across different areas of the Curriculum for Excellence to develop projects based on cultural themes
  • setting up an international partnership with a school overseas.

Where are they from?

Assistants are native-level speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. They come from 15 countries in Europe and beyond.

You can also apply for a Chinese Language Assistant for free (by 31 January) or at a heavily subsidised rate (by 28 March). They  work from mid-September 2014 to 26 June 2015.

What do I do next?

Visit our website to find out more about the programme and apply. If you are a local authority school, your local authority should apply on your behalf.

Contact the Languags Assistants programme directly:

You can also read an assistant’s blog on her experience of teaching French in an Angus primary school.

Languages on Screen

19 March 2014 (Languages on Screen)

Languages on Screen is an exciting new educational resource that puts French, German, Spanish and Italian - and soon Gaelic, short films online for free download and use in schools across Scotland. With a Glow username and password you have free access to these educational resources - you simply login to this site via Glow. If you don’t have a login you can request one via the website.


Pupils Make Language Skills Work

18 March 2014 (Inverclyde Now)

Third Year pupils at Inverclyde Academy put their problem-solving skills to the test during a Languages in Work event.

Working with representatives from local employers BPI Visqueen, IBM, and Concentrix, as well as student language ambassadors from Strathclyde University, pupil teams drew on the skills they have gained during their studies of modern foreign languages to solve a challenge in languages they hadn't studied before, including Dutch and Italian, as well as French and Spanish which they have already had lessons in.


Audio Lingua

12 March 2014 (Audio Lingua)

Audio-Lingua offers mp3 recordings in several languages. It is a collaborative bank of authentic audio resources, recorded by native speakers, and can be searched by level, topic and language.


LEAP: funded professional development courses 2014

21 February 2014 (LEAP)

Take advantage of funding opportunities to improve learning and teaching while expanding the European Dimension in your curriculum!

Language Education And Partnerships (LEAP) offers a range of professional development courses for staff in primary, secondary, further and adult education. Their courses focus on the development of Learning & Teaching within the delivery and development of languages.  Courses are available in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

These immersion courses, which can be funded through the new Erasmus+ programme, are purposefully designed to enhance teaching practice while further developing language skills and intercultural understanding as a tool for generating original resources.

The deadline for funding applications is 17 March 2014, in respect of courses starting from 01 July 2014. Visit the LEAP website for more information, or simply contact the team on 01922 724993 or email


Euroscola 2014

20 February 2014 (Radio Lingua Schools)

See the multilingual presentation given by Scottish students, Daniel and Heather, on behalf of the UK at this year’s Euroscola in Strasbourg.


Two weeks in Bologna: language lessons for an MFL teacher

14 February 2014 (The Guardian)

At first, the heat of the Italian summer added to a mental haze about learning the language for teacher Charlotte Bailey, but soon her confidence was growing with every gesticulation.


3rd year BA research posters blog

4 February 2014 (SCILT)

Along with her Spanish and Italian colleagues, Caroline Verdier, Teaching Fellow in French at the University of Strathclyde, challenged 3rd Year students to work in groups on a research project.  The groups had 'carte blanche' to research any aspect of life or identity in a country where the target language is spoken. Subjects included independence movements in Spain and Scotland, the representation of Ancient Rome in cinema and on television and the status of Paris in the world of fashion.  There were also some case studies about businesses such as of Renault, Zara and Veuve Cliquot.

Information about the rationale, the research process and the findings were distilled and displayed in a poster.  The posters were very creative, many were interactive and had 3D elements.  An exhibition to showcase all the posters took place in the McCance Conservatory in April 2013.  During Spring 2014, posters and abstracts from this year’s 3rd Year students will be added to the blog.

This blog would be a good tool to support pupils involved in research for the IP strand of the Languages Baccalaureate.


Apply now for a Language Assistant - Bring language and culture alive with a native speaker in the classroom

17 January 2014 (British Council)

Support implementation of the 1 + 2 languages policy by hosting a Language Assistant in your school.

The British Council team is on hand at every step and our dedicated online support offers everything you need to get your pupils’ learning experience off to a great start. Our free service includes careful selection of the best candidate to suit your school, guidance on administration and training courses for Language Assistants.

How can Language Assistants help?

Their responsibilities can be tailored to suit your school’s requirements. Assistants can support the teaching of a first (L2) or a second (L3) modern language by: 

  • supporting teachers’ language acquisition and improving their cultural knowledge
  • developing lesson plans and delivering classes on topics to complement different subject areas 
  • running extra-curricular activities for additional support (eg lunch time clubs) 
  • working across different areas of the Curriculum for Excellence to develop projects based on cultural themes 
  • setting up an international partnership with a school overseas.

Where are they from?

Assistants are native-level speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. They come from 15 countries in Europe and beyond.

You can also apply for a Chinese Language Assistant for free (by 31 January) or at a heavily subsidised rate (by 28 March). They work from mid-September 2014 to 26 June 2015.

What do I do next?

Visit our website to find out more about the programme and apply. If you are a local authority school, your local authority should apply on your behalf.

You can also read an assistant’s blog on her experience of teaching French in an Angus primary school.


Shortfall in the languages the UK needs the most

20 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Three-quarters of the UK public are unable to speak one of the 10 most important languages for the country's future, a British Council report has found.

The British Council has called on government and business to work together to develop educational policy and priorities relating to languages. This follows a YouGov poll commissioned by the British Council, which found that of 4000 UK adults polled, 75% are unable to hold a conversation in any of the languages highlighted as crucial to the UK's economic standing.

The Languages for the Future report identified those languages, in order of importance, as: Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese.


Related Links

Read the British Council report here.

'Alarming shortage' of foreign language skills in UK (BBC, 20 November 2013)

UK warned over shortage of foreign language speakers (BBC News, 20 November 2013) - includes a link to audio item 'But why are British students so behind with foreign language skills?' BBC Radio 5 live's Breakfast reporter Rowan Bridge visited language teachers and students at Manchester College to find out.  (Available to listen to until Wednesday 27 November 2013).

Britons are told they must learn languages of success (The Herald, 20 November 2013)

Arabic beats French, Mandarin beats German and Spanish is best: UK's international education body highlights most important foreign languages to learn (The Independent, 20 November 2013)

Poor Language Skills 'Hampering UK Economy' (Sky News, 20 November 2013)

Languages must be as important as maths and science, British Council says (TES News blog, 20 November 2013)

Languages - Gift of bilingualism is too often 'squandered' (TES, 22 November 2013)

Ascolta Il Tuo Cuore

14 November 2013 (Lyrics Training)

Italian pop song by Laura Pausini with lyrics and games for beginner to advanced level.


Trend of Modern Language Entries at SCQF Levels 4-5

01 November 2013 (SCILT)

SCILT have produced a document with statistics on Modern Language Entries at SCQF Levels 4-5 from 2009-2013. This is in addition to the statistics previously published:
- Trend of Modern Language Entries and Attainment at Higher in French, German and Spanish
- Trend of Modern Language Entries and Attainment at Higher in the lesser studied languages (Italian, Gaelic for Learners, Mandarin, Urdu and Russian)

Visit our Statistics on languages in Scotland page to download the PDFs.

Halloween ideas for modern languages

11 October 2013 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland’s resource calendar contains links to a selection of Hallowe’en resources in French, German, Italian and Spanish.


University language department closures: 10 things you need to know

9 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Over the last few days, a Guardian investigation has revealed that modern foreign language departments are closing at an alarming rate. Here's a summary of the key facts.


Speak Italian!

6 October 2013 (Speak Italian)

Part of the Speak Languages! network of websites, the site offers a wide range of materials to help learn Italian, with phrases and vocabulary broken down into topics and themes. Access to the site is completely free. We are currently adding sound, and soon users will also be able to hear all the phrases and vocabulary spoken by native Italian speakers.


eTwinning opportunities for Scottish schools

3 October 2013 (SCILT)

The following opportunities have arisen for Scottish schools to become involved in an eTwinning project. These teachers would like to find schools in Scotland to partner with: 

  • Spain - secondary school with pupils between 12-18 years
  • Italy - primary school with pupils between 6-13 years

If you would like further information on either of these schools you should contact SCILT in the first instance on

Kirkwall Grammar School says ‘Salut’ to European languages

30 September 2013 (Orkney Islands Council)

It’s bon appétit for KGS S1 pupils as they tuck into a special continental breakfast on Monday 30th September.

In the week following the launch of Speak to the Future’s ‘1000 Words’ Campaign, to mark European Day of Languages on September the 26th the Modern Languages department has organised the big breakfast.

During the week, lessons will be geared towards language awareness. Alison Scott is Principal Teacher of Modern Languages: “We’ve made great use of the resources we have in the school, with pupils and staff sharing their knowledge of European languages by offering taster sessions in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Polish".


Arteta supports language programme

27 September 2013 (Arsenal Football Club)

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has spoken about the importance of learning language skills ahead of the European Day of Languages, which encourages more people to learn a foreign tongue both in and out of school.

Arsenal in the Community has long championed language learning through its successful Double Club model – an innovative education and football programme which aims to fuse football and education to form a fun and enjoyable way for young people to engage with their academic studies and football at the same time.

In addition to Arsenal-themed language learning materials for German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, a DVD of one of Arsenal’s players speaking in their native language is provided as an exciting classroom resource.


Related Links

Double Club German – new resources for 2013-14 season! (UK-German Connection, 24 September 2013)  Double Club: German is a joint project by Arsenal FC, the Goethe-Institut London and UK-German Connection. It is an innovative education and football programme which aims to show pupils that German can be fun, improving their knowledge of the German language and culture in a joint football / German club. Pupils attend one session per week, which can take place after school, in lesson time or during holidays, and is split up into two 45-minute sessions. Available as a module for primary or secondary level pupils, new materials for the 2013-14 season are now available. Follow the link above to find out more about the programme and how to sign up.

Game On Scotland! Commonwealth Games language resources

26 September 2013 (Education Scotland/SCILT)

Learning ideas around the context of the Commonwealth Games are available at the Game On! website.

SCILT and Education Scotland have developed a learning journey designed to support the learning and teaching of modern languages at primary level.


Statistics on language uptake and attainment

24 September 2013 (SCILT)

SCILT have produced two documents with statistics on language uptake and attainment at Higher grade from 2008-2013. One provides statistics on French-German-Spanish and one on lesser studied modern languages (Italian, Gaelic learners, Urdu, Mandarin). 

Visit our Statistics on languages in Scotland page to download the PDFs.

Calling all multilingual IT whizzes: skills shortage hits firms

31 August 2013 (Irish Independent)

Every year, the Government's Expert Group on Future Skills Needs publishes a snapshot of the supply and demand of skills in Ireland.

Multilingual skills are a key aspect of some of the skill shortages.


New BBC Bitesize material for National 4 and 5

22 August 2013 (BBC)

New materials for National 4 and 5 covering a variety of subjects including Gaelic. Other MFL materials are available under KS1/KS2/KS3 and GCSE sections for French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.


Glasgow has started the journey to implementation of 1+2 languages starting at early years!

19 August 2013 (Engage for Education)

Maureen McKenna, Executive Member for Education, Glasgow City Council said: “Glasgow has been working on a sustained and planned approach in the development of languages in the city to enhance the learning and teaching in our schools.

“Glasgow was ably represented on the Scottish Government languages working group by Gillian Campbell-Thow, an experienced principal language teacher who also has a city-wide language remit and support role for our schools in all sectors.

Glasgow is in the process of proactively working to encourage the uptake of 1 + 2 languages in primary schools across the city with more and more teachers being trained. This session primary teachers have the chance to train in French, Spanish, German, Italian and Gaelic. Early years training will be available in French, Spanish, Gaelic, Polish and Arabic.


Juvenes Translatores 2013

8 August 2013 (REAL)

Amid ever-growing interest, the European Commission will run its Juvenes Translatores translation contest for the seventh time in 2013.

The contest is organised for 17-year-olds in secondary schools throughout the European Union. They will translate a 1-page text between any 2 languages from among the EU's 24 official languages. This year the theme of the texts will be "citizens".

The authors of the best translation from each EU country will be invited to Brussels to receive an award, meet the Commissioner for multilingualism and see how professional EU translators work.

Schools can register for the contest from 1 September to 20 October 2013.

Follow the link to the website for more information.


Short films for language learning

2 August 2013 (Languages on Screen)

Short films can make fantastic authentic texts for language learners. 

Languages on Screen has a selection of shorts that is freely available to Scottish educators with a GLOW log in, and each is accompanied with teaching resources. Most appropriate for secondary learners. Films in German, French, Spanish and Italian.

Several of the shorts on the Screening Shorts and Moving Image Education websites have a soundtrack though no spoken word. Discussion and response to these films could be done in the target language. Teaching resources are also provided to accompany all of the films are provided. In addition, thanks to a creative commons licence, the shorts are available for download for education purposes. The films could then be imported into Windows Movie Maker and learners could add their own audio track in the target language. Potentially suitable for secondary and primary learners.

Also available to buy for primary learners of French, is the ‘Ciné-mini’ DVD from British Film Institut which also includes teaching resources.

Visual Literacy: Using Film to Teach Languages

2 August 2013 (Routes Into Languages)


How can going to the movies help students gain a better understanding of other languages and cultures?


Pupils rise to university challenge

19 June 2013 (East Ayrshire Council)

Young maths stars at Grange Academy performed well for the second year running in a national maths contest with a twist.

The Mathematiques Sans Frontières competition featured ten tricky problems which pupils had to solve together – but some questions were in French, German, Spanish and Italian, just to make it harder. And pupils had to explain the solutions for these in the appropriate foreign language!


Intensive summer courses of Italian language and culture

14 June 2013 (Italian Cultural Institute)

The Italian Cultural Institute in Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, is the Italian Government centre for the promotion of culture, offering also a wide choice of Italian language classes.

Our summer courses are held in July and August at all levels, from beginner to advanced.

Visit our website for full details.


Tennis - Novak Djokovic says learning Chinese language is difficult

31 May 2013 (Tennis World)

Tennis - Novak Djokovic is the world's top ranked player and quite good when it comes to playing tennis. But the Serb is also pretty good when it comes to speaking languages.

The Serb revealed his love for the languages during his press conference on Thursday.



Highland winners in Euroquiz final: Cradlehall primary school wins at the Scottish Parliament

15 May 2013 (SEET)

Congratulations to the P6 team from Cradlehall Primary School in Inverness who won the Scottish European Educational Trust’s national Euroquiz final, which took place in the Scottish Parliament on 13 May 2013.

The quiz is run by the Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) with almost 1300 pupils from 315 schools competing in the heats held across 29 of the 32 local authorities throughout the school year.

For the first time this year, the event has attracted Scottish Government funding to support the inclusion of a language component in the Euroquiz. In the language round participants had to demonstrate their understanding of simple questions and phrases spoken in French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Full details of the Euroquiz final and all the participating schools can be found on the attached flyer.  Or you can visit the SEET website for more information about the competition.


Related Files

First French-born MSP sworn in

15 May 2013 (BBC Democracy Live)

Scotland's first French-born MSP Christian Allard has been sworn in at Holyrood, on 15 May 2013.  Mr Allard, originally from Dijon, replaces SNP backbencher Mark McDonald who resigned from his North East regional seat to contest the Aberdeen Donside constituency by-election in June. Mr Allard made his non-religious affirmation at a short ceremony at the Scottish Parliament before business got underway in the debating chamber.  The 49-year-old, who has experience in the fishing industry, made the affirmation twice, once in English and once in French.

 The use of more than one language has become more common at Holyrood. After the 2011 election, Italian, Urdu and Gaelic were heard alongside Scots and the Doric dialect.


Italian texts

10 May 2013 (SCILT)

SCILT has sourced a selection of texts in Italian which teachers may find helpful. These texts can be used for a variety of purposes. You may want to use them based on a common theme to help deliver the Added Value Unit at National 4. They could also be used in conjunction with Bloom’s Taxonomy to help pupils develop Higher Order Thinking Skills.

Access the texts on our website.


Tyne & Wear students to boost language skills

10 May 2013 (Chronicle Live)

Two North East universities will be stirring up school children’s passion for baking – and languages – in the Great Languages Bake Off.

Today’s event organised by Newcastle and Sunderland Universities will see more than 130 pupils, aged 11 to 13, from across the North East present videos about cooking in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Greek.


Language Summer School

9 May 2013 (London School of Economics)

Launched in Summer 2011 our Summer Language Programme is a range of, short but sweet Arabic, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish courses. Each year the programme has grown to include more languages, levels and courses of different levels of intensity.

Courses run at various times throughout July and August each year.

Visit the website for more information.


Strathdevon Primary to Fly Clacks Flag at Scottish Parliament

7 May 2013 (Clackmannanshire Council)

Pupils from Strathdevon Primary School in Dollar will fly the flag for Clackmannanshire in the national finals of the Scottish European Trust's Euroquiz at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh next week.

The school children will come up against 29 other primary schools from around Scotland, from as far afield as Stornoway, in a bid to lift the coveted prize.

The final will held on Monday13th May, on the floor of the Scottish Parliament debating chamber at Holyrood.


Related Links

School children from across Scotland to take part in annual Euroquiz event (Scottish Parliament, 8 May 2013)

New resources to support MFL National 4 and 5

2 May 2013 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland have recently published new resources to support the implementation of National 4 and 5 in Cantonese, French, German, Italian, Mandarin (simplified), Mandarin (traditional), Spanish and Urdu.

To access the materials follow the link below to Glow (you’ll need your Glow password).


Yakety Yak Language Cafés - latest news

20 April 2013 (Yakety Yak Language Café)

New French sessions

New French sessions will start running on Wednesday 1st May and Thursday 2nd May at 2pm in 2 different spots in Edinburgh.  See our website for more details.

A Yak and a lunch

A yak and a lunch will be back in June. We will still be at Café Musa from 12 to 1.30pm but this time the sessions will be held on Wednesdays. The schedule will be as follows:

  • Italian on 5th June
  • German on 12th June
  • French on 19th June
  • Spanish on 26th June

You can start booking your session now until the 20th May. The sessions cost £10 but you will need to allow for your lunch as well. Remember that those sessions are best suited for intermediate to advanced levels.

More information can be found on the Yakety Yak Language Café website.


Third-year Modern Languages' Exhibition

17 April 2013 (HaSS - Strathclyde University)

Come and Visit the Exhibition of the Third-year Modern Languages' Projects which is being held in the McCance Conservatory from the 16 April 2013 until 4pm on Friday 26 April 2013.

As part of their 2nd semester project, students of Modern Languages, working in teams, have produced displays on various themes exploring linguistic and cultural aspects of France, Italy and Spain.

See the attached flyer or email Caroline Verdier for more information.  All welcome. 

Related Files

Bilingualism Steps Into a Leading Role - Viggo Mortensen and Other Actors Take Roles in Foreign Films

29 March 2013 (New York Times)

Viggo Mortensen, who speaks fluent Spanish, plays two roles in the Argentine movie “Everybody Has a Plan,” directed by Ana Piterbarg.


Coffee Break French wins European podcast award

21 March 2013 (Radio Lingua)

We’re delighted to announce that Coffee Break French has won Best Professional Podcast UK in this year’s European Podcast Awards. The shortlist of podcasts for each category was originally generated by listener votes, so we’d like to thank everyone who voted! A jury then considered each of the podcasts on the shortlist and Coffee Break French was voted Best Professional Podcast in the UK. Coffee Break Spanish came fifth in the rankings!

Radio Lingua offers language-learning for your iPod, iPhone, mp3 player or computer. Take your lessons with you wherever you go by downloading our free materials or purchasing our courses to learn even more.  All the information you need is on the website.

Lesson 8 of Coffee Break German is now available. This episode build’s on the previous lesson, asking for more complex directions around town. The link below takes you directly to the podcast.


Related Links

Coffee Break German - Lesson 8 (Radio Lingua, 20 March 2013)

Italian language courses in Glasgow

18 March 2013 (Italian Cultural Institute)

Are you interested in joining a new language course which is also enjoyable? At the Italian Cultural Institute, for the first time, we offer the opportunity to attend our courses in Glasgow.

Enrolment is now open for classes starting on 16th April 2013. 

For further information please visit the website or contact the Italian Institute on 0131 668 2232 or email  You can also download the attached flyer and enrolment form.


b small Little Linguist Award 2013

14 March 2013 (b small publishing)

We have joined forces with Little Linguist to launch a 'Little Linguist Award' for a simple story in French, German, Italian or Spanish. The competition is open to individuals or classes. Two winners will be selected and the winning stories published as e-books on our website. Each winner will also receive a b small library worth £100 for their home or school. All details of who can enter, how to enter, the story guidelines, the lovely prizes and our distinguished judging panel are on our website.


Fair Trade Fortnight – resources

1 March 2013 (SCILT)

If your school is involved in Fair Trade Fortnight, you may well find these resources useful. SCILT has sourced these resources from YouTube and Glow.

Related Links


For those of you teaching French, a school in Aberdeen has posted interesting teaching materials in the “Resources and Sharing” section of the National Glow Site. This link will take you directly to the folder, but you will need your Glow login.


You Tube is an open forum where anyone can post clips and comments. Please check the appropriateness of all content before using with your class.

Spanish Videos:

French Videos:

Italian Videos:

German Videos:

Learn Languages with Arsenal FC

31 January 2013 (European Commission)

Arsenal Double Club Languages is the north London football club’s innovative education programme for children that are learning French, German, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese at school.

The programme uses Arsenal and football as a theme to inspire school children to learn a language. The Club produces fun, relevant learning materials in collaboration with specialist language partners including the Goethe Institute, Institut Français and the Consejería de Educación. These resources include colourful workbooks that are filled with language activities based around football, and also a DVD featuring one of the Gunners’ players speaking in their native language.


MFL - Fighting for equal rights

25 January 2013 (TES)

Inspire pupils by introducing them to famous foreign activists. Do your pupils know the national motto of France: Liberte, egalite, fraternite? In any language, this makes an excellent topic for discussion and debate. Pupils could also write essays exploring whether one quality is more important than the others.


Primary adds success by teaching 1+5

14 December 2012 (TESS)

The prospect of teaching 1+2 languages from P1 is a daunting one for many in the primary sector.

But today, the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee will launch an inquiry into the teaching of languages in primary - at a school where 1+5 is the norm.

At Dalmarnock Primary, in the east end of Glasgow, pupils have access to French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Greek, in addition to their home language of English.


On Location German / On Location Italian

13 December 2012 (Radio Lingua)

Read the latest blogposts from Germany and Italy and pick up some useful phrases relating to Christmas.


Related Links

On location Italian (Radio Lingua blog, 13 December 2012)

Pope makes Twitter debut in eight languages

12 December 2012 (The Guardian)

For a man who had not yet sent a single tweet, more than a million followers on Twitter was quite a coup. But that was the number that Pope Benedict had racked up as he hit the button on his tablet and launched his hugely anticipated Twitter account @pontifex.


Related Links

@Pontifex: Pope joins Twitter to send 'spiritual messages' in eight languages (The Mirror, 3 December 2012) 
The pope will next week launch a personal Twitter account to spread his message and answer questions about faith - in 140 characters. The first papal tweets will be sent out in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French.

Celebrities speaking languages

10 December 2012 (Routes Cymru / YouTube)

Routes Cymru posted the following YouTube links on Twitter. We thought you would enjoy using them with your pupils to promote languages.

‘On location’ blogs

28 November 2012 (Radio Lingua)

Read the latest blog posts from those learning the language and culture in Germany, Spain, France and Italy.


More primary schools to offer Latin and ancient Greek

17 November 2012 (The Telegraph)

Applies to England
Latin and ancient Greek are to make a comeback in state schools under Government plans to introduce compulsory language lessons for seven-year-olds. The list also features Mandarin – because of the growing importance of China as an economic power – plus French, German, Spanish and Italian.


Funded In-Service Training Courses for teachers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain (2013)

23 October 2012 (Language Education And Partnerships (LEAP))

Language Education And Partnerships (LEAP) offer a range of in-service training courses for existing and aspiring teachers in primary, secondary, further and adult education, designed to develop your understanding of the teaching and learning of language and culture. These courses, which can be funded through a Comenius or Grundtvig In-service-training grant, are available throughout 2013. They provide an excellent opportunity for you to enhance your teaching methodology while improving your language skills and cultural knowledge. Next deadline for funding applications: 16 January 2013.


University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages