Gambia will drop English as an official language soon because it is a colonial relic, President Yahya Jammeh has said, without indicating which language the tiny West African country would use in its place. "We no longer believe that for you to be a government you should speak a foreign language. We are going to speak our own language," Jammeh said in an address in English last week that was broadcast on Tuesday. 

One hundred years ago, in 1913, the Jewish community in Palestine was roiled by controversy, set off when the German aid organization Ezra began work in Haifa on the Yishuv’s first institution of higher education, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Board of Governors decided that German would be the main language of instruction. In response, some teachers said they would refuse to teach and students walked out of their classes. The Board of Governors eventually backed down, and Hebrew became the sole language of instruction.

“Why tweet in English?” demanded a pro-government commentator of his opponent in a TV debate, insisting that Turkish people tweeting in English about the recent graft probe is part of an international conspiracy. Twitter has become the most recent fixation of Turkey’s ruling party who alleges the social media platform is a part of the international conspiracy against the Justice and Development Party, Ihsan Dagi discussed in a piece originally published by Turkey’s Today’s Zaman.

On the sad occasion of Nelson Mandela’s death, it’s worth recalling his words on languages: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” I read that quote on a poster on the wall at the Beijing Language and Cultural University on a smoggy morning this September – BLCU is one of the British Council’s longest standing and biggest partners in China.

Al Arabiya News will today launch a state-of-the-art subtitling service that allows English-speaking audiences to follow Arabic news bulletins and programs broadcast by its parent TV channel. The new service, part of this website’s View More video section, will broadcast regular news bulletins and programs first aired in Arabic by the Al Arabiya News Channel, the region’s leading news station.

Have you ever tried teaching classic literature to language learners? Teacher trainer Chris Lima explains how 19th century language and culture are less of a hindrance in relating literature – and Jane Austen specifically – to language students than one might assume. I suppose most teachers’ first reaction towards working with Jane Austen in the English language classroom is not very different from the reactions we have when people mention Shakespeare or Dickens, or literature in general.

“Cuba Libro” is Cuba’s very first English language bookstore. It opened its door to customers last week. Conner Gorry, a New York City native living in Havana, first came up with the idea. She envisioned a comfortable place for book lovers to leaf through English-language books. Anchor Marco Werman speaks with Gorry about “Cuba Libro” and the complexities of operating a small business in the island.

Cuba's first English-language bookstore offers a selection that would just about stock the lobby of an average Vermont bed and breakfast. Next to what's available in English elsewhere in Havana, it might as well be the Library of Congress. The brainchild of a longtime U.S. expat, Cuba Libro launched Friday as a bookshop, cafe and literary salon that offers islanders and tourists alike a unique space to buy or borrow tomes in the language of Shakespeare. Cuba Libro also gives customers an occasional glimpse of opinions hard to find elsewhere on the island.