Referendums

by John Quiggin on April 26, 2004

The problem with, and the virtue of, referendums is that, in the absence of armed guards at the ballot box, you can never be sure of the result. The curious politics of the European Union are such that referendums are of particular importance. The big news at present relates to the twin referendums just held in Cyprus, on the UN plan for reunification, and the commitment by Tony Blair to hold a referendum on the EU ‘constitution’.

[click to continue…]

Making learning languages fun

by Chris Bertram on April 26, 2004

I’ve been going to evening classes to try to get my German up to speed for a few weeks now and I feel I’m making a bit of progress. If I watch the “Deutsche Welle”:http://www.deutsche-welle.de/german news I can more or less work out that Schroeder is unbelievably pissed-off with Blair over the Euro referendum but can’t say so for diplomatic reasons. I’ve also been renting German movies such as “Lola Rennt”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130827/ (terrific but not so useful for language) and “Was tun, wenn’s brennt?”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207198/ (Funny, though comedies about terrorists making bombs out of fertilizer have a decidedly retro feel these days.) Anyway, after reading “Learning French through Blaxploitation”:http://www.triptronix.net/ishbadiddle/archives/2004/04/22/13.52.15/ over at Ishbaddle, I may have the learning-by-casual-osmosis strategy the wrong way round. Watch DVDs in English and turn the German subtitles on? Anyway, I’m interested in hearing about language-learning strategies that are fun at the same time (and if anyone can throw in German movie recommedations too, that would be a plus).