18th November 2005 at 00:00
Include basic vocabulary as part of a distant locality unit, eg hello, yes, no, "counting from 1 to 10" to help give a sense of place. Extend this concept with older children to include words for key geographical features, eg river, volcano, city, port.

Map the distribution and spread of selected major languages, eg English, Spanish. Relate this to the history of exploration, colonisation and migration.

* Collect foreign words that have entered the English language, eg verandah, sarong, tsunami, anorak. Locate their origin and explain why they have become everyday words.

* Look for evidence of past migrationsinvasions in place names, eg chester (Roman), beck (Scandinavian), ton (Saxon). What does this tell us about where these peoples settled? The names of many physical features have a foreign origin, eg fjord, esker, levee. As a revision activity, list words you think might fall into this category from the glossary in your physical geography textbook and then look them up in a dictionary to see if you are right. Map which country they come from.

Compare countries with more than one official language. eg Switzerland: (


distribution of languages); Belgium

How do they manage this? Is it a strength or a weakness? Is it an indicator of socio-economic inequality?

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