Saturday, 20 May 2017


At yesterday’s dinner party, with Kiwis, Japanese and French guests present, language was the hot topic.

There were tongue twisters, pronunciation hurdles—‘foo’ and ‘h’—and ‘New Zild’.

I was interested most by the conversation around ESOL. I was struck by just how many assumptions people take for granted about how we might tackle language instruction.

It’s as if the alphabet is already in place—an English one. We may need to tweak it—add accents or umlauts here or there, or modify the order. But we do not imagine that an entirely new set of symbols may be needed.

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