Research participants wanted – bilingual adults

We are looking for bilingual participants. If you live in Edinburgh or the Central Belt of Scotland, and you and your partner or housemate are both bilingual and switch languages in everyday conversation, you could help us!

Please contact Dr Mariana Vega-Mendoza at m.vega-mendoza@ed.ac.uk, who will be happy to send you more information. Your help is greatly appreciated! Each couple who participate will receive a £25 Amazon voucher at the end of the study.

Languages: English, Spanish, Polish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Croatian, Czech, German, Mandarin, Russian, Swedish

Closing date to sign up: 20 June 2017

Healthy Linguistic Diet

Post by Dr Thomas H Bak

UPDATE July 2017: Want to hear more? See Thomas Bak live and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas on Wednesday 23rd August. Click button below for full details.

See Thomas Bak at Edinburgh Fringe 2017

One of the things that I miss most in the current debates on bilingualism is the lack of interaction between cognitive and social scientists. Both disciplines do important work in this field, but it is very rare that they meet, exchange ideas and discuss their respective findings, let alone develop joint concepts and theories. This is one of the reasons why I was so delighted to be invited by the European Commission, Directorate General Education and Culture to join the meeting of the 4th Thematic Panel on Languages and Literacy in September 2016 in Brussels. This meeting as well as the subsequent one in January 2017, at which I was invited to give a keynote lecture, gave me a chance to interact directly with people coming from very different professional background, working with different populations and using different methodologies.

A particularly important encounter for me was that with Dina Mehmedbegovic, who gave a keynote lecture at the September 2016 meeting. Dina’s background is in school education and she has studied in detail the attitudes to minority languages in England and Wales, which she documented in her book published in 2011. One of the concepts she developed was that of a “healthy linguistic diet[Read more…]

Bilingualism Matters at Edinburgh Fringe 2017

We are delighted that our Director, Professor Antonella Sorace, and our Deputy Director, Dr Thomas Bak, are both challenging Edinburgh Fringe audiences this August with surprising findings from research, as part of the 2017 Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, organised by Beltane Public Engagement Network. [Read more…]

Our Annual Event 2017

By: Mariana Vega-Mendoza & Madeleine Long

On Friday 12 May 2017, Bilingualism Matters hosted its Annual Event at the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Forum. The event brought together professionals and researchers from areas such as education, neuroscience, and policy as well as members of the public.

The programme kicked off with registration and networking followed by a wonderful schedule of short talks hosted by Àdhamh Ó Broin. The first talk was by the Centre Director, Prof Antonella Sorace, [Read more…]

Survey on bilingualism and autism – May 2017

Online survey, the ABC – Autism and Bilingualism Census, designed for any adults (over 16 years-old) on the autism spectrum, monolinguals and multilinguals alike:
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ABC-DART

Bérengère Digard, a PhD student from the University of Edinburgh has reached out to us to help her with her research project. She is interested in the relationship between bilingualism and the autism spectrum; you can read more about her research on her webpage:

Bilingualism, Autism and the Brain

She just released an online survey, the ABC – Autism and Bilingualism Census, designed for any adults (over 16 years-old) on the autism spectrum, monolinguals and multilinguals alike. If you wish to help her by taking part in her project, you simply have to follow the link below. Completing the survey should take you between 10 and 15 minutes, maybe a bit more if you speak more than 2 languages.

Bilingualism Matters with ‘Little Linguists’ at Heathrow Airport

This Easter, we worked with Heathrow Airport to promote language learning for children, as part of their ‘Little Linguists’ scheme. Our Director, Professor Antonella Sorace, advised in the development of packs of fun flashcards in different languages, designed to spark an interest in language learning for the thousand of families passing through the airport over the Easter 2017 weekend. [Read more…]

Irish Gaelic: political football or treasure?

Post by Dr. Mimo Caenepeel

A few weeks ago, a sideways reference in a larger news item about the current crisis in Northern Ireland caught my attention: the newsreader reported that  ‘support for the Irish language’ was one factor in the complex breakdown of relations between Sinn Féin and the DUP. A quick online check gave me a bit more information. Just before Christmas, the DUP’s community minister Paul Givan decided to withdraw £ 50,000 in funding for an Irish Language (or ‘Irish Gaelic’) bursary scheme. Although that decision has since been reversed, Sinn Féin at the time called it ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’.

While arguably small fish in an ocean of news, this struck me as an interesting example of the impact of community language issues, not just on daily life but also on political processes. A ‘community language’ is a language used as their primary language by a community of people on a daily basis. While the number of people in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who claim to have some knowledge of Irish is increasing (especially in urban areas like Dublin), the use of Irish as a community language is contracting; in fact, Irish is expected to disappear as a primary language by 2025. That puts Irish Gaelic (together with Scottish Gaelic) on the list of UK languages that are ‘definitely endangered’. [Read more…]

Workshop: The selectivity of native language attrition

Venue: University of Edinburgh
Date: 13-14 October 2017

Bilingualism Matters at the University of Edinburgh is pleased to host this two-day workshop “The selectivity of native language attrition” as part of the ESRC-funded First Language Attrition Seminar Series (ES/M001776/1) led by Monika Schmid (University of Essex).

Meeting Description

Very broadly, language attrition can be defined as changes in a speaker’s native  language (L1) as a result of increased use of another language (L2). Among the most intriguing questions in research on bilingualism is the selectivity of L1 attrition in first-generation speakers. What exactly changes in the L1?  Why are some linguistic properties more vulnerable than others to change under conditions of diminished exposure and use? Are these the same properties that are variable in heritage speakers, who may have experienced language attrition at an earlier age? An understanding of the relationship between L1 attrition and L2 acquisition in late bilinguals can advance our understanding of language and cognition in multilingualism.

Invited Speakers

Kinsey Bice (Penn State University)
Laura Dominguez (University of Southampton)
Janet Grijzenhout (Leiden University)

Dates

Registration open:                   4 August – 10 October 2017
Seminar:                                    13–14 October 2017

Programme

Download programme (pdf)

Registration

Registration is open via the University of Edinburgh ePay system.
Standard rate: £100.00  Student rate: £50.00
Registration includes lunch and refreshment breaks on both days. Dinner is optional and not included in registration price. Please indicate if you plan to attend the dinner when registering, and further booking details will be sent by email in the coming weeks.

Travel and Accomodation Guide

Download travel and accommodation guide (pdf)

Organising committee

Antonella Sorace (University of Edinburgh, Bilingualism Matters)
Roumyana Slabakova (University of Southampton)

Questions

Please email bilingualism-matters@ed.ac.uk if you have any questions about registration.

Bilingualism Matters in Frankfurt

Prof Antonella Sorace is in Frankfurt today to give a talk entitled “Bilingualism: An Investment for Life”, at Goethe University Frankfurt.

Bilingualism Matters Network Dissemination Meeting in Trento, September 2016

 

Trento_Group

On the 13th and 14th of September 2016, researchers from Bilingualism Matters branches around the world came together in Trento, Italy, for the dissemination network meeting ‘Engaging in research on bilingualism’. [Read more…]