Berlin: The ″Carnival of Cultures″ | DW Travel | DW.COM | 13.05.2016

Every year during Pentecost weekend, Berlin residents and lots of tourists gather in Kreuzberg district for a celebration of cultural diversity. It’s a great chance to get delicious, authentic food and learn more about the people who live in this amazing city.

Berlin, the capital of Germany, is a vibrant and diverse city with a rich cultural history. One of the most significant cultural events that takes place in Berlin every year is the Carnival of Cultures. This event, which is held over the course of four days in late May, celebrates the diversity of the city’s inhabitants and their cultural heritage.

The Carnival of Cultures is a colorful and lively event that features a parade of floats, live music, and traditional dances from around the world. It is attended by thousands of people from all over Berlin and is considered to be one of the largest street festivals in Europe. The parade is led by a group of samba dancers and drummers, followed by an array of colorful floats representing different cultures and countries. The floats are decorated with traditional costumes, flags, and other cultural symbols, and they are usually accompanied by groups of dancers and musicians.

The event is not only a celebration of different cultures but also a platform for integration and learning. It is a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about different cultures, customs and traditions. The festival is also a great way to meet people from different backgrounds and to improve your language skills. The event is a great opportunity to practice your English as many visitors come from different countries. Especially when you meet people from other countries, you can learn a lot about different cultures and customs.

The festival also includes a wide range of food and drink stalls, offering a diverse selection of traditional dishes from around the world. Visitors can enjoy delicious food and drink from different cultures and countries, including African, Asian, and European cuisine.

The Carnival of Cultures is not only a celebration of the diversity of the city’s inhabitants but also a celebration of the city itself. Berlin is a city with a rich cultural heritage, and the festival is a great way to experience this heritage. The event is a great opportunity to learn more about the city and its history, as well as to enjoy the stimulating and fiery atmosphere of the city.

In conclusion, the Berlin Carnival of Cultures is a vibrant and diverse event that celebrates the cultural heritage of the city’s inhabitants. It is a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures, customs, and traditions, and also to improve your language skills. The event is a great way to experience the rich cultural heritage of Berlin and to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the city. It is a must-see event for anyone visiting Berlin and is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant and diverse culture.

Source: Berlin: The ″Carnival of Cultures″ | DW Travel | DW.COM | 13.05.2016

Wait … is that a rule? Ten everyday grammar mistakes you might be making | Books | The Guardian

  1. Subject-verb agreement: One of the most common grammar mistakes made by English as a foreign language speakers is incorrect subject-verb agreement. This occurs when the verb does not match the subject in number. For example, “The students are studying” is correct, while “The students is studying” is incorrect.
  2. Pronoun agreement: Another common mistake is incorrect pronoun agreement. This occurs when the pronoun does not match the antecedent in number or gender. For example, “Each of the students has their own books” is incorrect, it should be “Each of the students has his or her own books.”
  3. Tense consistency: English as a foreign language speakers may also have difficulty maintaining consistency in verb tense. For example, “Yesterday, I go to the store” is incorrect, it should be “Yesterday, I went to the store.”
  4. Confusing words: English as a foreign language speakers may confuse similar-sounding words. For example, “I’m affraid of the dark” instead of “I’m afraid of the dark.”
  5. Prepositions: English as a foreign language speakers may have difficulty using prepositions correctly. For example, “I’m from Italy” instead of “I’m from Italy.”
  6. Word order: English as a foreign language speakers may also have difficulty with word order in English sentences. For example, “I happy am” instead of “I am happy.”
  7. Article usage: English as a foreign language speakers may have difficulty with the use of articles “a, an and the.” For example, “I bought apple” instead of “I bought an apple.”
  8. Adjective order: English as a foreign language speakers may also have difficulty with the order of adjectives in a sentence. For example, “I bought a big red car” instead of “I bought a red big car.”
  9. Modals: English as a foreign language speakers may have difficulty using modals correctly. For example, “I can swims” instead of “I can swim.”
  10. False cognates: English as a foreign language speakers may also mistake words that look or sound similar to words in their own language, but have a different meaning. For example, “Embarazada” in Spanish means “pregnant” but in English it’s “embarrassed.”

It is worth noting that these are common mistakes made by English as a foreign language speakers and that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. The key is to be aware of them, practice and to seek feedback and corrections. With time and practice, these mistakes can be corrected and overcome. Additionally, it’s also important to understand that different cultures have different ways of expressing themselves and that’s normal, there is no one correct way of communicating.

Further reading:

Before their workshop at the NGV Art Book Fair in Melbourne, writing studio the Good Copy shares some tips

Source: Wait … is that a rule? Ten everyday grammar mistakes you might be making | Books | The Guardian

A way to make demonstrative determiners teachable | Oxford University Press

this, these, thatthose

If you’re not sure about this, these, that and those, the article highlights some interesting ways of looking at it in more detail. It’s useful for teachers and learners.

And then a colleague introduced me to the concept of summary nouns.

This/these + a summary noun

‘Abstract nouns with demonstrative determiners’, she informed me, ‘improve the flow of the text by summarizing old information and introducing it to a new clause or sentence.’ And then she gave me an example or two, such as the following:

An alternative to the guided interview is the focus group, in which respondents are asked to discuss their views collectively. This method, where participants engage with each other, has the advantage of lowering the risk of interviewer bias.

I must have been aware at some level of this feature of academic English, but I hadn’t actually had it explained to me as an entity in itself that was potentially teachable.

‘Oh, there are lots of things you can do with it in the classroom’, she added, such as:

– asking students to identify some of the many typical summary nouns (area, conclusion, development, example, idea, phenomenon, situation, trend etc.) and organizing them into sub-groups (claim, comment, remark etc.);

– gapping texts after the demonstrative determiner and eliciting the most appropriate summary noun;

– applying the feature to disconnected or ‘untidy’ texts;

– inviting students to bring in for discussion their own examples;

– looking at the occasions where a writer has paired that or those, or such instead of this or these with a summary noun.

And what I found in class was not only the sense among students that this was a feature they could take away for immediate use, but also, it seemed to me, a greater awareness of the function of demonstrative determiners in other contexts (on their own or with non-summary nouns), almost as if the ‘graspable’ nature of ‘this/these + a summary noun’ had acted as a kind of bridging device.

Source: A way to make demonstrative determiners teachable | Oxford University Press

Refusing to accept job ads for native speakers only: interview with Helen Strong – TEFL Equity Advocates

An interview with the head of the Munich English Language Teachers Association that makes a lot of sense. The native/non-native teacher argument is unnecessary.What matters is being a good enabler of English language acquisition.

The next step may be to communicate this with students who often state a request for British English in my lessons and compare it to Hochdeutsch. The idea that it is the standard or ´correct`version of English.

Source: Refusing to accept job ads for native speakers only: interview with Helen Strong – TEFL Equity Advocates

The Primary Differences Among Major International English Dialects | Grammarly Blog

Most English learners only think about American English and British English but that’s ignoring a huge amount of people who speak English as first language. Want to know more about the others?

There are several major dialects of English spoken internationally, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the primary differences among these dialects include:

British English: This dialect is spoken in the United Kingdom and is characterized by its pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. One of the most notable features of British English is its use of Received Pronunciation (RP), which is a non-regional accent that is considered standard in the UK. British English also has a large number of words and phrases that are not used in other dialects, such as “lorry” for truck and “chemist” for pharmacy.

Australian English: This dialect is spoken in Australia and is heavily influenced by British English, but also has its own unique features. Australian English is known for its distinctive vowel sounds, such as the “flat” or “short” a sound in words like “dance” and “bath.” Australian English also has its own slang and colloquial terms, such as “fair dinkum” (genuine) and “she’ll be right” (it’ll be fine).

Canadian English: This dialect is spoken in Canada and is influenced by both British and American English. Canadian English is known for its use of “Canadian raising,” which refers to the raising of the diphthong in words like “about” and “house.” Canadian English also has its own distinct vocabulary, such as “parkade” for parking garage and “serviette” for napkin.

New Zealand English: This dialect is spoken in New Zealand and is heavily influenced by British English but also has its own unique features. New Zealand English is known for its use of “New Zealand rising,” which refers to the raising of the diphthong in words like “bath” and “dance” in a similar way to Australian English. New Zealand English also has its own slang and colloquial terms, such as “sweet as” (cool) and “chur” (thanks)

These are the major international dialects of English, but there are also many other dialects spoken around the world, each with their own unique characteristics, such as:

Singapore English: This dialect is spoken in Singapore and is heavily influenced by British English, but also has its own unique features. Singapore English is known for its use of “Singlish,” which is a mixture of English and various Chinese dialects, Malay and Tamil words and phrases. Singapore English also has its own distinct vocabulary, such as “kiasu” meaning “fear of losing” and “lah” which is used as a filler or an emphasis.

Indian English: This dialect is spoken in India and is heavily influenced by British English, but also has its own unique features. Indian English is known for its use of “Indian English,” which refers to the English spoken in India that incorporates many Indian words and phrases. Indian English also has its own distinct vocabulary, such as “chappal” for sandal and “chai” for tea. Indian English also has different pronunciations, and intonations compared to other dialects.

Filipino English: This dialect is spoken in the Philippines and is heavily influenced by American English, but also has its own unique features. Filipino English is known for its use of “Taglish,” which is a mixture of Tagalog and English. Filipino English also has its own distinct vocabulary, such as “jeepney” for public transport and “tricycle” for a type of three-wheeled vehicle. Filipino English also has different pronunciations, and intonations compared to other dialects.

It’s important to note that these dialects can vary greatly within the countries themselves, and that the above examples are generalizations. English is a global language and it’s spoken differently in every corner of the world, and each dialect has its own unique features that reflect the culture, history and influences of the region.

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments

Source: The Primary Differences Among Major International English Dialects | Grammarly Blog

Benefits of in-country hire

View in Berlin
View in Berlin

Good human resources management in an international company means getting the right people in the right jobs at the right time. But what is your version of right? There is no one size fits all approach to hiring that means there are no risks and what is right for other digital startups might not be right for yours. If you are thinking about what  the right way is for your company to expand into Europe please read on.

If this is your company’s first step into the relative unknown that is the European market, it’s not possible to get away from the fact that it is different from North America. There are different cultures to deal with. While an American employee may brag about the amount of hours they have worked that week or the lack of vacation days taken that year a European worker is legally entitled to paid time off and will expect to take it. And its not just holidays, there are organisational cultures which vary from U.S. to E.U. too.

Profit is not the only motivator, society as a whole is more of consideration as well and there is far more bureaucracy as a rule in European countries. Having an insider who is used to dealing with the vagaries of town officials and their requests could be invaluable.

If the main base for your company is going to stay in the U.S. then you need to have people you can trust, and who subscribe to your values, in control. It is crucial that they project your company’s principles through your expansion. You might be roughly 5 and a half thousand miles or more away and its unrealistic to be expect to be able to micromanage at that distance (and with those time zones). It might feel safer to send someone who you know, and who knows your company’s way of working. But safer isn’t always better and relocating to another continent is a big commitment. Will your go-to guy (or girl) be able to make that kind of pledge? Would you want them to? Anyone who is going to cross half the world is not going to be able to do it at the drop of a hat.

If you are looking to expand across the Atlantic, it is likely that you are also wanting to grow your network, something which is made much easier with people who have fully developed support infrastructures. If it is truly not what, but who you know, then having the right contacts can be crucial.

Also, having fresh input into your company could be invaluable for the development of your company. The different cultures mentioned earlier will result in a different world view, and fresh eyes might be able to solve a problem you didn’t even know existed. This influx could provide the innovation that turn your great idea into a game-changer. And let’s face it, you are not truly a multinational company while you are exclusively hiring American employees, albeit in “non-American” locations.

Another important factor to bear in mind is speed of delivery. If a week is a long time in politics, 6 months can be a lifetime when it comes to digital start-ups. What is hot right now can quickly become obsolete, or have its potential market wiped out by a competitor who just got to market that little quicker. Although notice periods tend to be longer in Europe (typically 3 months), this compares favorably with the time it would take to relocate the necessary American resources. Once you take into account that the EU is churning out over 2 million graduates a year,  across all fields the future suddenly looks bright when it comes to finding the right talent to help your company progress further.

Business in profile

CiteAb is fast becoming the go-to place for antibody search. And it’s part of the vibrant southwest tech scene that is making Bath and Bristol an exciting place to do business right now

The simple way to find the right antibody for your experiment

Founded in March 2013 by in as a response to repeated exasperation when trying find the correct antibodies for experiments. Dr Andrew Chalmers, senior lecturer at the University of Bath and co-founder of CiteAb had this to say about his reasons for starting CiteAb:

“My own frustration at the amount of effort students and postdocs in my lab spent looking for antibodies, and the number of antibodies we bought that didn’t work, were real drivers in developing the idea for CiteAb. The time and money wasted made me believe there must be a better way of searching for and choosing between antibodies.”

So they resolved to solve the problem and CiteAb was born. Dr. Andrew Chalmers (University of Bath) and Dave Kelly (Storm Consultancy) were the co-founders, with guidance and support provided by the University of Bath. Their aim was to to help researchers find the right antibody for their experiments – ultimately saving time and money, and helping research progress faster, By June 2013 they already had 1 million antibodies listed on their search engine (it’s now approaching 2 million with the words “Aaah – too… many… antibodies!”) The site now gives researchers access to antibodies from over 60 companies worldwide, rated by their citations in over 100,000 research papers.CiteAb also won an award for ‘best startup’ shortly after they launched, recognising the significant impact they had made in the market within a fairly short amount of time. Now they are looking at ways to ensure the long-term stability and progression of CiteAb, which is a really exciting phase of their development.

What makes CiteAb stand out from their competitors is the veracity of their search results. Unlike other antibody search engines, no company can pay to have their results top listed. CiteAb is unbiased and as Dr. Chalmers explains “The core ethos of CiteAb is that we are completely impartial – we list antibodies according to citations, so the only way an antibody can move up the ratings is to be used successfully in research and be cited by other researchers.”

Typical CiteAb users are research scientists from a range of research institutions and pharmaceutical companies who want to find antibodies that are known to work. Their clients are usually based in the pharmacy or biotechnology sector, often companies that produce and sell antibodies. They work with us to ensure their latest products are listed on CiteAb and they’re also very interested in the data we can show them that reflects the state of the market.

So what comes next for CiteAb? First they built up the data, (CiteAb is the largest citation ranked antibody search engine in the world) now comes the time to analyse it. Recently they’ve been taking a more in depth look at the wealth of publication data held within CiteAb. This has allowed them to produce a series of reports showing market share trends for countries, companies, antibodies and research areas. Unlike the usual market surveys, CiteAb’s are unique in that they’re based on analysis of hundreds of thousands of antibody specific publications, so they are able to provide a comprehensive and unbiased view of the bioscience research market. That huge database of antibody citations also provides a valuable resource to find experimental details when planning antibody experiments.

Being based in Bath has its advantages too: Dr Chalmers has a really strong network of potential CiteAb users here in the city in the University of Bath’s thriving Faculty of Science. The University provided CiteAb with a great deal of support during the initial development and spinout, and continues to be involved on the CiteAb board. Connections within the sector that can be reached through an institution like the University of Bath are invaluable to a small company in its early years. The city of Bath is also conducive to the growth of young companies – especially those with a digital or online angle. According to Matthew Helsby, the development manager at CiteAb “The city has a strong digital presence and there is a lot of support for startups and those new to business.”

That’s not to say it has been completely plain sailing. For Dr. Chalmers, who has a background in research, moving into the business world has meant a completely different way of working. The adjustment took some getting used to and although he wished he would have known that everything would take twice as long as you might expect, he has found the whole process extremely exciting. Luckily David Kelly, the other co-founder, with a background is in web software development, was there to provide support on the business and software side although he said “just learning what an antibody is” was a good first step for him.

Although not currently looking for investors or employees, as they are quite a young startup, CiteAb believe with the future looking as bright as it does that hopefully they will do soon. Opportunities are first posted on their blog so it’s worth keeping an eye on that and they are always keen to hear from people who are interested in CiteAb, so if you’ve any questions please do give them a shout, as “we love to talk about our organisation!”

Additional Info: blog and social media (LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook/Google+)

5 more reasons why native speakers need to learn to speak English internationally | ETp

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is more important than ever for native English speakers to think about the international implications of their communication. Here are several reasons why this is important.

  1. Increased global interconnectedness: With the rise of technology and the internet, it is easier than ever to communicate with people from all over the world. Native English speakers need to be aware of how their communication may be perceived by people from different cultures, and make an effort to be sensitive to cultural differences.
  2. English as a global language: English is widely spoken and understood around the world, making it an important language for international communication. Native English speakers have a responsibility to use the language accurately and appropriately in order to promote effective communication and avoid misunderstandings.
  3. Cultural sensitivity: English speakers need to be mindful of the cultural context in which they are communicating. They should be aware of the cultural norms and expectations of their audience and avoid using expressions or idioms that may be considered offensive.
  4. Business communication: In today’s global economy, it is common for businesses to operate in multiple countries and cultures. Native English speakers working in international settings need to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients from different cultures and backgrounds.
  5. Avoiding stereotypes: Native English speakers should be aware of the stereotypes associated with their own culture, as well as the cultures of those they are communicating with. They should avoid perpetuating these stereotypes in their communication and instead strive to understand and appreciate cultural differences.
  6. Building cultural bridges: Effective communication can help to build cultural bridges and promote understanding and cooperation between different cultures. Native English speakers have a responsibility to use their language skills to promote mutual understanding and respect.
  7. Promoting linguistic diversity: The use of English as a global language can sometimes lead to the suppression of other languages and cultures. Native English speakers should be aware of this and make an effort to respect and promote linguistic diversity.
  8. Adapting communication styles: Native English speakers should be aware of the different communication styles used in different cultures, and be prepared to adapt their own communication style accordingly.
  9. Professional and academic contexts: In professional and academic contexts, the way the message is delivered is as important as the message itself. Native English speakers should be aware of the conventions and expectations of their audience and adapt their communication accordingly.
  10. Empathy and understanding: Ultimately, effective international communication requires empathy and understanding. Native English speakers should strive to understand the perspectives and experiences of those they are communicating with, and communicate in a way that is respectful and inclusive.

In conclusion, native English speakers need to think about the international implications of their communication in order to promote effective and respectful communication with people from different cultures. This requires an awareness of cultural differences, an understanding of the role of English as a global language, and a willingness to adapt communication styles and avoid stereotypes. By being mindful of these issues, native English speakers can help to build cultural bridges and promote understanding and cooperation between different cultures.

For further reading, check out below:

In her blogpost this week, Chia Suan Chong looks at more reasons why native English speakers need to think about the international implications of their communication.

Source: 5 more reasons why native speakers need to learn to speak English internationally | ETp

Tech blogs – Eastern Europe

berlin
berlin

Over the past 5-10 years, the Central and Eastern European region (CEE) has been quietly building a reputation as a potential competitor to India in the tech outsourcing business. Now signs are pointing to the region being the next global tech start up hub.

For companies with a European base of operations, the advantages of outsourcing to CEE are clear. There is a low cost, (salaries are typically 50% lower than western Europe) highly educated, skilled workforce (Poland ranks above the U.S.A and Germany on the Pearson plc Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment of 39 developed nations in 14th place). Plus there are minimal cultural differences, combined with the fact they are located in the same or neighbouring time zones. Also, important if you are working in a data sensitive industry, for CEE countries in the E.U. the same data protection laws are applied. These ideal outsourcing conditions have led to companies such as  Google, IBM, Samsung, HP, Microsoft, Nokia-Siemens, SAP, HSBC, Xerox, Fujitsu, Symantec, General Electric and many more making use of C.E.E. as an a near-shoring opportunity, with Poland in particular being seen as a outsourcing hub. Capgemini, which provides business and computer outsourcing for almost 100 corporations, including Coca-Cola and Volkswagen operates five centers in Poland.

There are some disadvantages, with most of the outsourcing companies of a much smaller scale than their south Asian rivals. This means they can’t compete directly in cost per capita, and if you have large scale, exact brief that doesn’t need too much supply-side innovation then India may still be the best location to outsource to. However, the CEE countries are able to turn this small size to their advantage, as they are much more able to do innovative, experimental projects with much less direct management than is needed for Indian projects.

So, with so much skilled labour (Romania has an estimated 64,000 I.T. specialists alone) and hundreds of thousands of tech aware, motivated, potential entrepreneurs graduating each year, this has been a period of real growth across the region. This on its own isn’t enough to create a viable tech eco-system, but the thing that is making the real difference is cash. After all, these areas have for a long time had talented, hardworking people. What has changed is huge amounts of capital invested in the area with billions of Euros being pumped into Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia etc to improve their infrastructure and also provide grants to promote entrepreneurship. But it’s not just government money, increased amounts of angel investors and VC’s are increasingly targeting CEE. Over the past few years several startup success stories have emerged across CEE.  These include AVG and Avast from the Czech Republic, Nordeus from Serbia, Filestube from Poland, BitDefender and Soft32 from Romania, and Prezi, Indextools, LogMeIn, and Ustream from Hungary and they have attracted investors seeking scalable ideas. Many people believe that C.E.E. is 10-15 years behind western Europe for tech start ups and, now the money tap has been turned on, the region is primed for massive growth.

So what does this mean for US businesses? While the basic ingredients are there for growth, what is really needed for CEE to truly become a international tech hub is expertise in developing local success stories into global ones. The seed money is there and there are a lot of talented people working hard to grow their start ups but for every Skype there are thousands which can’t make the leap. This is of course the same with every tech hub, but with the right partnerships, and maybe a bit of US know-how, the sky is the limit for these CEE countries and the companies they work with.