Research updates what's on staff news recent events bilingual parent 

Community languages: a precious resource

 

Earlier this year I joined  colleagues from the universities of Cambridge, Reading, Bangor, Ulster, and UCL, in signing a letter to the UK Secretary of State for Education, expressing our concern at the proposed withdrawal of GCSE and A-Level in some community languages. The announcement by public examination boards (OCR and AQA) would have meant the withdrawal of qualifications in Bengali, Dutch, Gujarati, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, and Turkish.

As we stated in our letter, English schools accommodate over 1,000,000 young people with English as an Additional Language, and who between them speak over 300 different languages. This diversity is a precious resource that should be cherished by all. Reducing the opportunities for qualifications in home languages would reinforce the perception that some languages - and their speakers - are more valued than others. Time and time again, research has shown that increased proficiency in a home language is linked with increased proficiency in the language of education (i.e., English). The withdrawal of qualifications in these languages would, in our view, be a short-sighted measure which would directly impact the life opportunities of thousands of young people across the UK.

I therefore welcome the Department for Education's recent statement that they recognise the value of community languages, and are working with the exam boards to see how these qualifications can continue. Multilingualism is a huge asset both to individuals and to our country as a whole. I look forward to working with policy makers and education professionals in Scotland and the UK more widely, to see how we can best ensure the future of community languages in our schools.

 

Image: Professor Antonella Sorace

 

Professor Antonella Sorace 

Founder and Director of Bilingualism Matters



Image: University of Edinburgh logoImage: Bilingualism Matters logo
Join BILINGUALISM MATTERS at the Edinburgh festivals this summer!
Poster for Not So Native Now fringe show
Poster for The Gift of Bilingualism book festival show

Staff news

 

Bilingualism Matters researcher Dr. Thomas Bak has recently been promoted to Reader in Human Cognitive Neuroscience.

Congratulations Thomas!

Dr. Thomas Bak

                               

As well as studying bilingualism and its relationship with the ageing brain, Thomas has been working with Motor Neurone Disease patients for two decades. In September, he'll be taking part in a ten day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro with a group of climbers from Motor Neurone Disease Scotland. 


Find out more at Thomas' fundraising page
www.justgiving.com/ThomasBak 

 

For more information about Motor Neurone Disease Scotland, visit their website

www.mndscotland.org.uk/

Public events


15 August 15:00 - 16:00

Not So Native Now


Lively discussion and debate about learning another language - and why the best learners are more likely to make mistakes in their native tongue.

With Professor Antonella Sorace and comedian Susan Morrison.

Part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

More information: visit The Fringe website 

...........................................................................................................................................................

20 August 19:00 - 20:00

The Gift of Bilingualism - Speaking in Many Tongues


Join the conversation about the benefits (and challenges) of early bilingualism.

With Michelle Jones from early literacy charity Craigmillar Books for Babies, and Professor Antonella Sorace.


Part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

More information: visit the Book Festival website

...........................................................................................................................................................

4-5 November 10:30 - 12:30

Mother Tongue at Home and at School

Bilingualism matters is delighted to be invited to deliver a workshop for "new Scots" parents and support workers about the importance of promoting and maintaining your home language. 

The workshop will take place in Glasgow (4th November) and Edinburgh (5th November). The sessions are free but must be booked in advance.

This workshop is part of a series designed to give parents who have moved to Scotland an overview of the Scottish Education system. The series, "The Scottish Education System and Beyond" is run by Gathered Together and will take place throughout the autumn.


More information: visit the Gathered Together website

Research updates

 

Dissertation in a nutshell: Language use in multinational companies in Spain

 

MSc student Caitlyn Craig


English is now pretty well recognised as the language of business, especially in Europe. However, additional languages have always been a necessity for European multinational corporations in order to move their business to other nearby countries. In spite of this, language skills and the values placed on these skills seem to vary widely between different European countries.

The extent to which language policy in business differs between different European regions is not clear. Most of the literature on multinational corporations and language use has focused on Northern Europe, with a few exceptions comparing Asian and Anglophone countries. There is a real lack of information about language use in business in Southern European countries such as Spain - especially outside of Catalonia. The aim of my study is therefore to evaluate language policies of multinational corporations in Spain, through a series of interviews with business executives and HR directors. 

...........................................................................................................................

AThEME research consortium comes to Edinburgh

Researchers at the AThEME consortium in Edinburgh
14-15 May saw over 50 researchers from across Europe descend on Edinburgh to discuss progress so far and future steps on the EU-funded AThEME project (Advancing the European Multilingual Experience).



The project consists of four separate research teams:
  • Regional languages in multilingual Europe - including in-depth analysis of language policies around Gaelic, Basque and Catalan amongst others
  • Heritage languages and language users in the EU - including social factors affecting language use in ethnic minority groups
  • Multilingualism and communicative impairments - including developing new assessment tools for dyslexia and Specific language Impairment in multilingual speakers
  • Being multilingual - including large-population studies of the relationship between language and cognitive skills from children to older adults

You can find out more about what the UK partners have been working on on our website


...........................................................................................................................


Participants wanted!


AThEME logoResearchers on the EU-funded AThEME project (Advancing the European Multilingual Experience) are currently recruiting participants.

They are looking for young adults (18-30) who are native speakers of British English and are bilingual in (or have had exposure since early childhood to) ANY OTHER LANGUAGE.

For more information or to take part, please contact PhD student Michela Bonfieni

 

 

Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Website
Website

Key collaborations

 


British Sign Language in Scottish Schools


Bilingualism Matters and sign language experts from Heriot-Watt University successfully joined forces to fund a series of workshops around teaching British Sign Language (BSL) in Scottish Schools. The funding, awarded by Scottish Universities Insight Institute, will enable practitioners and policy makers from both the Deaf and hearing sectors to come together and identify gaps, challenges and opportunities for promoting BSL in Scottish education. The organising team also includes staff from the Scottish Council on Deafness, the National Deaf Children's Society, the British Deaf Association, and the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh.

For more information, contact the programme leaders:

Prof. Graham Turner (Heriot-Watt University)
Dr. Madeleine Beveridge (Bilingualism Matters)  

..............................................................................................................................................
 

2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting


Prof. Antonella Sorace (Bilingualism Matters in Edinburgh) and Prof. Judy Kroll (Bilingualism Matters at Penn Sate, USA) will be working together to deliver a symposium on public engagement at next year's prestigious AAAS annual meeting in Washington DC.

..............................................................................................................................................

Edinburgh exchange on language skills and business


Bilingualism Matters are working with the University of Edinburgh Careers Service to increase awareness  in both students and businesses of the employability benefits of bilingualism. Together, we'll be hosting the second Edinburgh Exchange this autumn, with an explicit focus on bilingualism and language skills. The Edinburgh Exchange is a forum bringing together university staff with local and national businesses to share information, resources and opportunities.

For more information, contact our Research Coordinator Dr. Madeleine Beveridge

Recent events

 

Bilingualism and Language Impairment

 

June 2015                       Edinburgh

Dr. Vicky Chondrogianni

Bilingualism Matters' deputy director Dr. Vicky Chondrogianni led a two hour training session on bilingualism and language impairment for practitioners. The event was organised by Afasic Scotland, a charity supporting young people with language and communication difficulties.

Find out more on the Afasic Scotland website

The session rounded off a busy few weeks for Dr. Chondrogianni, who specialises in bilingualism in typically and atypically developing children. Vicky also presented to the NHS Lothian Speech and language Therapists' study day at Queen Margaret university (9th June), and the autism and bilingualism workshop at the University of Edinburgh (1st June).

........................................................................................................................................................
 

University of Glasgow Open Studies Day

 

May 2015                       Glasgow

 
University of Glasgow Centre for Open Studies
Dr. Martha Robinson delivered a two hour workshop exploring the myths and realities of bilingualism and language learning. The event was part of the University of Glasgow's Spring Open Studies programme and was attended by a mixture of professionals (including our friends at the Scottish National Centre for Languages), learners, and interested monolinguals.



........................................................................................................................................................
 

Edinburgh International Science Festival

 

April 2015                       Edinburgh

 

Louise Glen addresses the Science Festival audience

Dr. Thomas Bak and Prof. Antonella Sorace were joined by language policy expert Louise Glen form Education Scotland for a fantastic discussion about language use through the lifespan, chaired by Prof. Aubrey Manning.

The sell-out show covered child language acquisition, the relationship between bilingualism and dementia, and the practicalities of implementing Scotland's 1+2 languages policy in primary schools.

The call for the 2016 Science Festival is now out, so we've got our thinking caps on. If there is a specific aspect of bilingualism that you would like to see covered, let us know!
  

         

Information leaflets for familiesteachers and policy makers now available to download from our website.

                                                                                 

         

    

 
To request paper copies, please email bilingualism-matters@ed.ac.uk

Bilingual parent


Mimo Caenepeel grew up in Flemish-speaking Belgium and married an English-speaking Scot. They live in Edinburgh and have a 21 year old daughter.
....................................................................................................
 

Why do you want your child to grow up bilingual?

 
Well my child has pretty much grown up already :-). When she was growing up we were aware of the advantages of having more than one language, but the main reason for me was that my first language is such a big part of who I am, and that it connects me with my family in Belgium. I wanted for her to be able to share that. 

 

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

 
The first few years were easy — speaking Dutch to my daughter felt completely natural when she was an infant. Her first words (and songs) were in Dutch, and I think it’s fair to say that Dutch was (chronologically) her first language.
 
The biggest challenge came when she moved more into the world (by going to nursery) and started speaking English to me. I speak English with my husband (it comes most naturally because my English is better than his Dutch, and because of the continuity with the rest of our shared lives). I think my daughter started speaking English to me because she wanted the three of us to share the same language.
 
We knew we needed to find more Dutch input for her but that wasn’t easy - we don’t have a social group of Dutch speakers, and the individuals we know (who do speak Dutch) speak such good English that they usually speak English with me! We found my daughter a Dutch childminder but the childminder had brought up her own children in English and struggled to remember to speak Dutch to my daughter (understandably, since the other children at the nursery all spoke English).

 

Have you found any solutions or ways of overcoming that challenge?

 
What I found, over time, was that my daughter’s Dutch improved rapidly when we spent extended periods of time in Antwerp (my home town), and that it goes more or less underground when we are in Edinburgh or in English-speaking countries. Her English is definitely stronger than her Dutch. We do a fair amount of code-switching in my family (interspersing English with Dutch/Flemish words) but our main language is English. 
 
So in one way I ‘failed’ to bring up my daughter completely bilingual. I used to feel unhappy about this, but one of the things Bilingualism Matters has helped me see is that there are many ways of being bilingual, and that one language being dominant is actually pretty normal. 

 

What advice would you give to other parents?

 
If you are the only source of the second language in your family, providing sufficient input of that language on your own can be tough. If possible, try to create or become part of a circle of parents, children and babysitters who are native speakers of your language. The more people your child hears using a language, the more different contexts they'll be able to speak or understand it in themselves.

And stop judging yourself for not having brought up the "perfect" bilingual! 
 

Contact us 

 
Bilingualism Matters, 
School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences
University of Edinburgh
Dugald Stewart Building
3 Charles Street
Edinburgh EH8 9AD
bilingualism-matters@ed.ac.uk 
0131 650 2884
Copyright © 2015 Bilingualism Matters Centre, All rights reserved.


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp