This Week in Language News, June 20, 2012

It is often suggested that the best way to learn a language is to find a romantic partner in the language you would like to learn.

Lacking direct human contact, eroticism may be the next best thing in learning a foreign language, or at least that appears to be the theory behind SexyMandarin.com.

Much to the chagrin of Chinese feminists, the risqué new educational site features scantily clad young ladies speaking Chinese in salacious poses.

Nevertheless, SexyMandarin’s self-described “unconventional” language teaching method has proved successful in terms of the number of visitors it has attracted to its website and YouTube channel.

Switzerland: A Nation of Monolinguals?

In what would seem to be a very surprising result, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation has reported that only 16 percent of the population in Switzerland declare themselves to be multilingual.

This either demonstrates a very high level of modesty amongst the Swiss or deflates the long-standing impression among those outside of the country that the Swiss can easily jump from language to language.

The study by the country’s Federal Statistics Office “found that 91.3 per cent of the population speaks a national language (German, French, Italian, Romansh) as their main language, a figure which remained stable in the decade from 2000 to 2010.”

Where on Earth Did You Learn to Say That?

I must have been a very late starter when it comes to learning bad words. If memory serves, I was seven when I uttered my first four-letter no-no.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “A new survey says that almost a half – 42 percent – of children first use bad language by the time they’re three! By the time they get to kindie, more than 90 percent of children have already uttered their first rude word.”

Joe Twitchy, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, says in the accompanying interview that laughing when you first hear your child swear is most natural yet worst reaction from a parent.

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