Research updates what's on staff news recent events 

Bilingualism in the media spotlight

In February, Centre Director Prof. Antonella Sorace travelled to Washington DC to deliver a seminar on "Bilingualism in Minority Languages - a science perspective." The audience was the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest general scientific society in the world. 

Prof. Sorace's appearance generated high levels of media interest, including articles in the Guardian, Telegraph, and the Scotsman. Deputy Director Dr Thomas Bak was then interviewed about the implications for language learning and ageing by STV (video) and BBC Radio Scotland (audio).

The debate about the strength of some effects in bilingualism research continues. See, for example, the recent piece in The Atlantic. Healthy debate is good for science and, as Thomas Bak says in his recent blog post, it is important for all scientists to maintain an open mind, whether or not they predict to find an effect.


For an overview of the confounds and confusions involved in bilingualism research, Thomas Bak's latest paper is strongly recommended, It was written with a general audience in mind and is available to everyone through the University of Edinburgh's Open Access policy.

Bak, T. H. (2015). The impact of bilingualism on cognitive aging and dementia: finding a path through a forest of confounding variables. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Special Issue on Bilingualism and Ageing.
Read an open access copy of the article here
 
"Who wants to be a multilingual?" Summerhall, Tuesday 29 March 2016 (20:00 - 21:30)
Don't miss us at the Edinburgh International Science Festival on 29 March!
Book via the festival website or call their box office on 0844 557 2686

Research updates

 

Speaking multiple languages can improve cognitive outcomes after stroke


Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Hyderabad, India, have found that patients who speak another language are twice as likely to recover their mental abilities after a stroke than monolingual patients. Read more about the study.
 

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Bilingualism and autism


Testing on this Challenge Investment Grant into Bilingualism and Autism is now complete. Many thanks to all the families who took part in the study! The researchers (Dr. Sue Fletcher-Watson, Dr. Hugh Rabagliati, Prof. Antonella Sorace and Sarah Hampton) have written up their findings for publication and are currently applying for more funding to continue this important work. View a poster of the preliminary findings.

Using the findings from this project, we have created a Bilingualism and Autism Fact Sheet.


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AThEME logo


Advancing the European Multilingual Experience (AThEME) 


Michela Bonfieni, PhD researcher on the EU-funded AThEME project is currently spending a month on the island of Sardinia, collecting data on minority language use. She'll be writing a blog about her fieldwork for the Bilingualism Matters  website. Read the AThEME project's latest newsletter.

 

 

 

Public events


11-12 March

Language Show Live Scotland


Visit our expert researchers on stand 205 all day Friday and Saturday. 

PLUS two talks on Friday afternoon:
 

13:00-13:45  "Growing up with Two Languages: Myths, Science, and Realistic Expectations" (TEFL forum)

 

15:00 - 15:30 "Dyslexia, Specific Language Impairment and language learning in the classroom" (Piazza)


More information: visit The Language Show Live website

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29 March 20:00 - 21:30

Who wants to be a multilingual?

 

Fingers on buzzers! This pub quiz with a difference will take you on a tour inside a language learner's brain with fun trivia and mind-boggling teasers, curated and delivered by stand-up comic Susan Morrison aided by our resident experts Prof Antonella Sorace and Dr Thomas Bak. Whether you're a lifelong bilingual, or struggling to remember your high school French: come and join us to learn something new about languages, and how we learn them.

Cost: £8.50/£6.50

Booking and more information: via the Edinburgh International Science festival website


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14 April
27 April


Languages across the lifespan with Yakety Yak language cafe

Following the tremendous success of last year's languages across the lifespan workshops for older language learners, we are delighted to be running two more events this year. We'll be discussing language learning and bilingualism in relation to healthy ageing, dementia, stroke, and much more.

Booking and more information: First priority will be given to members of Yakety Yak language cafe. If you are not a member but would be interested in attending a session, please email bilingualism-matters@ed.ac.uk to register your interest.

Staff news

 

There is still time to donate to Dr. Thomas Bak's fundraising mission in aid of Motor Neurone Disease Scotland, following his climb up Kilimanjaro in September. 

www.justgiving.com/ThomasBak 

Motor Neurone Disease Scotland       

 

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Recent events

 

French-English Bilingual Theatre workshops

 

February 2016                       Edinburgh

students practice conversation skills at bilingual theatre workshop
Bilingualism Matters teamed up with bilingual theatre workshop Theatre Sans Accents to host three workshops as part of the University of Edinburgh's Innovative Learning Week.

Students developed their confidence in spoken French and English by working through a range of activities drawing on theatre techniques  - including improvisation, emotion and body-language, and singing.

Find out more on the Theatre Sans Accents website.

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British Sign Language in Scottish schools

 

February 2016                       Glasgow

 
Delegates chat at the British Sign language in Scottish schools workshop

On 2 February, delegates gathered at the second of three workshops on Developing a Sustainable framework for British Sign Language in Scottish schools.

The keynote speaker was Prof. Christian Rathman, who was the first Deaf person to become a professor in Germany. He outlined recent work on adapting the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - a widely used framework for mapping language assessment and progression through education - for use with sign languages. 

This was followed by discussions of the Scottish context including case studies of current practice at Windsor park primary (Falkirk) and Dingwall Academy (Highlands) - both of which were recent winners at the Scottish Sensory Awards.

The workshop series, organised by Dr. Madeleine Beveridge (Bilingualism Matters) and Prof. Graham, Turner (Heriot-Watt university), and are funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII).

Find out more about the project, including a BSL description, on the SUII website.

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Edinburgh Exchange: multilingualism and business

 


Sel your language skills leaflet - front coverJanuary 2016                       Edinburgh


At the start of the year, Bilingualism Matters and the University of Edinburgh careers service joined forces to host discussions on the theme of multilingualism and business.

Speakers from Iberdrola, Rabbies Tours, and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry explained why they prioritise recruiting multilingual staff, how the particular skills and attributes of multilinguals have helped develop their business and how they foster the further development of these skills. Read a summary of the event.

The event was also a chance to showcase our new leaflet highlighting the employability benefits of multilingualism. View the leaflet online.
 

         

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

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 © 2016 Bilingualism Matters Centre, All rights reserved.


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