English: It's all rubbish

This story, reported by Lonely Planet, is too fascinating to ignore.

In an effort to improve the English-speaking skills of residents and 'internationalize' his city, the mayor of Tainan in Taiwan has decreed that rubbish trucks should blare out English phrases over their loudspeakers. This novel way of getting people to work on their language skills is the brainwave of the mayor's wife - and now, instead of playing Beethoven symphonies as they used to in the past, the city's rubbish trucks teach conversational English.

The trucks announce their arrival with phrases such as 'How are you?' and 'I'm fine thank you. And you?' Some 300 separate phrases and sentences have been recorded for residents to work on, including some less frequently used ones such as 'How much is this cabbage?' By all reports, older members of the community have been a little mystified at what is being taught, although the mayor hopes that after a few months of putting out the rubbish, most of Tainan's elderly will have at least a basic grasp of English.

No comments: