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.

In Praise of Useless Languages, Antonella Sorace
Mon 14 Aug 2017 at 13:50
New Town Theatre, Edinburgh

We often hear people classify languages as useful or useless depending on how many people currently use them. However, is the value of a language determined solely by the political or economic power associated with it? Research on bilingualism over the lifespan shows that knowing more than one language – any language – can benefit the mind. From this point of view, our Director Prof Antonella Sorace presents the idea that all languages are worth learning, and minority languages, such as Gaelic and Sardinian, are a particularly precious resource.

Is Monolingualism Making Us Ill?, Thomas Bak
Wed 23 Aug 2017 at 20:20
New Town Theatre, Edinburgh

Originally, our brains were designed to be multilingual, managing two or more languages easily. Our Deputy Director, neuroscientist Thomas Bak reckons that, like sedentary lifestyles and an unhealthy diet, the monolingualism that’s come with modern society has its consequences. Research has shown that speaking only one language makes our thinking skills decline faster as we age and can actually make us more vulnerable to dementia in later life. So why aren’t public health campaigns addressing this? Should Fitbits be monitoring our speech as well as our steps?

Speak Your Mind