Edinburgh Branch Volunteer Group 2018

Members of our Refugee Working Group at last year’s Annual Event with Antonella Sorace

At the Edinburgh branch of Bilingualism Matters, we are lucky enough to have a large group of enthusiastic volunteers to help us. Many of them are post-graduate language students keen to see the messages from their research reach appropriate audiences, such as families, teachers and speech therapists. We also have academics, professionals and members of the public who all have an interest in seeing the science of bilingualism research being available in the community.

Members of the group help out at our public events, write posts for our website, help with our social media and also get involved in project work in smaller groups. Here is what some of the groups are up to this year. [Read more…]

House of Lords Visit

Bilingualism Matters Edinburgh Co-director, Dr Thomas Bak visited to the House of Lords in January to give expert advice on the health benefits of bilingualism to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages, with his colleague Diną Mehmedbegovic, with whom he has a new website called Healthy Linguistic Diet. This visit is the first time that the cognitive aspects of bilingualism have been discussed by the group. There’s a great article in Polish that you can read in its original language or translate through your browser.

Thomas also featured in a half-hour special of the BBC Radio Scotland programme Brainwaves (click to listen if you are based in the UK), discussing his research into bilingualism. This excellent interview, with science journalist Penny Latin, explores many aspects of his research and how results can and are applied within society, including in his work with Bilingualism Matters. You can find out all about language initiatives Lingo Flamingo and Yakety Yak Language Cafe, with whom Thomas collaborates, and hear details on the latest research demonstrating the benefits of languages in the human brain.
[Read more…]

Hola! Early years Spanish programme in Glasgow

In February 2018, Antonella Sorace visited Indigo Childcare in Glasgow to give a talk to parents and staff about bilingualism and language learning. They have recently launched a Spanish Programme, which is proving popular with both the children and the parents. We asked them some questions about their programme for our Spring 2018 newsletter.

  1. What are the aims of the Spanish Programme at Indigo Childcare?

At the Indigo group, we aim to offer outstanding quality of learning and play experiences for our children and families. In the geographical areas we operate in, it is particularly important that we are focused on closing the attainment gap. For our part that means ensuring we provide the highest quality of early years’ experience and exploring creative ways to strengthen the development of children. Our programme aims to: [Read more…]

Unlocking the Puzzle of Multilingualism

Project child participation leaflet

Post by Tracey Hughes

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to express their views freely and for these views to be heard[1].  This may not sound particularly ground-breaking but, following tradition, adults can often find persuasive reasons for not giving children’s views their due weight.  ‘Child voice’ and child participation is often see as optional and a gift which can be bestowed upon children and young people.  In reality, it is a legal obligation which is the right of the child.  Assumptions are often made that children cannot be consulted regarding their views and experiences because they may be unable to articulate them appropriately.  In other words, in the past, research has tended to be on children, rather than with children.  I recently read an interesting comment regarding this issue, and ways to overcome participation, which concluded that if we cannot communicate effectively with children perhaps we should be questioning our own competence (rather than theirs)[2].

Research on bilingualism often focuses on the use of parental questionnaires, as a proxy for children’s experiences, or makes use of cognitive testing and standardised measures of linguistic ability.  [Read more…]

A’ cumail taic ri cloinn ann am foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig le mi-rianan cànain. An tèid agaibh air cuideachadh?

Tha pròiseact rannsachaidh ùr a’ dol an-dràsta aig Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann a tha ag amas air goireasan measaidh a chruthachadh a chuidicheas tidsearan agus leasaichean cànain is cainnt (SLTs) ann a bhith a’ tomhas na sgilean cànain aig clann a tha am Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gàidhlig (FTMG).  ’S e bhith a’ cruthachadh goireasan a bheireas taic do chloinn le mi-rianan cànain ann am FTMG amas fad-ùine a’ phròiseact.

Bu chòir cuimhneachadh nach eil a bhith a’ cleachdadh barrachd is aon chànan le do phàiste ag adhbharachadh mi-rianan le cànan is cainnt.  Ma ’s e ’s gu bheilear a’ measadh no a’ toirt seachad cobhair do phàiste a tha dà-chànanach, tha e cudromach gun tèid sgrùdadh a dhèanamh air, agus spèis a thoirt seachad dhan dà chànan. [Read more…]

Supporting Children with Language Disorders who are in Gaelic-medium Education. Can you help?

A new research project is underway at Edinburgh University, aiming to develop materials for teachers and Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) to assess the language abilities of children who are in the early stages of Gaelic-medium primary Education (GME).    The long-term goal is to create resources to help support children who have language disorders in GME.

It is important to remember that speaking and using more than one language with your child will not cause speech or language disorders.  If a bilingual child is being assessed or treated for a speech or language disorder, both their languages should be assessed and respected. [Read more…]

Bilingualism Matters Research Symposium 2018

 BMRS2018 Information (pdf) Register for Symposium

Our 2018 inaugural research symposium aims to provide an opportunity for researchers in Edinburgh and from across our Bilingualism Matters international network to come together to share and exchange ideas on any aspect of bilingualism, with a focus on dissemination potential beyond the academic world.  

Important Dates
April 2018                       Oral presentations confirmed
4th July 2018                 Registration open (free to first 30 students; £30 others)
August 2018                   Posters confirmed
7th September 2018     Symposium (9am to 3.30pm)

Programme (draft)

Contacts
If you have any questions or require further details please contact us by email or phone.
Email: bilingualism-matters@ed.ac.uk
Phone: (44) (0)131 650 2884

 

Research participants needed: Japanese or Spanish native speakers for story continuation study

Hi my name is Carine and I’m a researcher looking for participants to complete a Story continuation study. The study should take less than 60 minutes to complete and you will be compensated £8.  You will complete 3 language tasks, where you will have to read some sentences, or words, and either write short responses or answer questions about them.

To participate you MUST:
– Be a NATIVE speaker of JAPANESE or SPANISH (from Spain)
– Have NOT previously completed a story continuation study
– Be 18 or older
– Have lived in the UK for AT LEAST 3 YEARS
– Have HIGH or FLUENT proficiency of English as a second language (and no ability to speak any other languages)

If you’re interested in completing the study you can sign up at http://blake.ppls.ed.ac.uk/~s1153197/ssu/?exp=SCEN

If you have any questions, you can email us at pragmaticslabedinburgh@gmail.com

University of Edinburgh

Call for Participants: Bilinguals with German as a second language wanted!

Hello! I’m a Ph.D. student researching on the effects of bilingualism when learning any additional languages. I would be very grateful to you if you could help me with my study. If your answer is yes to the following questions, please get in touch with me to take part in my experiment! It consists of a short questionnaire and 3 linguistic tasks (2 in German). As a thank you for your kind contribution, you will be offered good Italian coffee, sweets and the chance to win Amazon vouchers (£25 pounds)

1) Is German your second language? (i.e. you are able to hold a conversation, read magazines, watch movies etc. in German)

2) Did you learn German in one of the following modalities?

a): from your parents because you were brought up in the UK but you used to speak German at home.

b): from the community around you because you spent time in a German-speaking country for work of study.

c): attending a course at school and/or university.

Please contact Francesca D’Angelo:  s1688875@ed.ac.uk

University of Edinburgh

Celebrating International Mother Language Day: Refugee Languages Welcome!

©iStock.com/Professor25

Post by Eva Hanna & Eva-maria Schnelten

Imagine you are forced to leave your country with only what you can carry. You leave extended family, friends, and community behind, not knowing when you will see them again – if ever. You travel a perilous and uncertain journey, stalled along the way in refugee camps, waiting to learn where you and your children will be settled.

Now imagine you arrive in new country with a completely different culture and climate. The locals are mostly warm and welcoming and help you to learn their language. Your children begin school and receive support in learning to speak, read, and write; however, you notice that they are beginning to respond to you in the new language. One day at pick-up, the nursery teacher mentions that it might be better for you to use the school’s language at home. Though you are not very confident in the new language yourself, you want to do the best for your children. But the suggestion still pains you. [Read more…]