Bilingualism Matters Blog

Welcome to the Bilingualism Matters Edinburgh blog section! We invite a wide range of contributors to get involved and stimulate discussion about bilingualism and language learning. As such, not all opinions given here represent the views of Bilingualism Matters.

Broadening the Horizons of Applied Linguistics Beyond Language

Elina Karadzhova Languages: Time Dreams Avatars | https://www.elinakaradzhova.com/languages

Post by Dobrochna Futro

On 31st of August 2019 the AILA Creative Inquiry in Applied Linguistics Research Network will convene a colloquium entitled ‘Broadening the Horizons Beyond Language’ as part of the British Association for Applied Linguistics Conference 2019 ‘Broadening the Horizons of Applied Linguistics’. The colloquium will be co-convened by myself, Dobrochna Futro, (Bilingualism Matters Edinburgh and University of Glasgow) and Marta Nitecka Barche (University of Aberdeen).

Humans’ ability to learn and use language is complex and can affect or be affected by multiple factors, for example: one’s sense of identity, self-confidence, and self-realisation.  Language can be also used to confine or empower rebellion, resistance, and negotiation.  In this colloquium, we will explore conceptual spaces that reach beyond the surface of language using, learning, and teaching; and research methods that allow for the exploration of those complex and nonlinear processes. In discussing the way creative inquiry enables broadening the horizons of applied linguistics, we will also consider the horizons of creative inquiry itself in its relation to language, its use, learning, and teaching.

The colloquium will consist of four papers:

  • Andrea Milde from the Nottingham Trent University will look at the creative language use in the field of drama to consider usefulness of applied linguistics in judging applied linguistics research into creativity.
  • Marta Nitecka Barche from the University of Aberdeen will explore the relationship between creativity and language learning by looking at this relationship through the lens of different theories of creativity and focusing on adult learners’ perception of creativity and language learning processes.
  • Louise Atkinson, independent artist-researcher and Jessica Bradley from the University of Sheffield will discuss possibility of a shared theory of creativity with Applied Linguistics in the context of co-produced research by exploring the idea of art education as communicative repertoire.
  • Lou Harvey from the University of Leeds will consider the process of the production of voice in participatory arts, reflecting on the affordances of arts-based methods for analysis of knowledge beyond and besides words and for enabling the expression of what was previously unarticulated, unheard and undervalued.

More information is available on the website: https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/education/baal/

Art speaks all languages

By Eva-Maria Schnelten

As part of this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland, Bilingualism Matters teamed up with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre and on Friday 28th June 2019 presented an exhibition of art works created by members of the refugee community in Edinburgh, with a special poetry reading, all on the Festival theme of “Making Art, Making Home”.

[Read more…]

Growing Up Multilingual

Post by Miranda Garralda Wong

It’s becoming increasingly common nowadays that children from primary and secondary schools are engaging with and learning to use more than one language. Across the world, policies have been shaped so to encourage the next generation to think outside of the box and  be open to the possibilities of a different linguistic universe, and to therefore be conscious from an early age, of the cross-cultural other.

[Read more…]

What is the Influence of Bilingualism on Development for Autistic and Non-Autistic Children?

Post by Dr Rachael Davis

Here at the University of Edinburgh, our new research project is underway to find out whether hearing or speaking more than one language influences children’s development, and importantly, whether these effects are different for autistic and non-autistic children.

Why are we doing this research? There are two main reasons. First, although there is general agreement from research that growing up in a bilingual environment does not have a negative influence on skills such as language development (and could even provide an advantage across a range of social and communication areas), there is less clarity around other so-called ‘bilingual advantages’, [Read more…]

From the lab: how artificial grammar systems can help identify speech and language impairments

Dr. Diego Gabriel Krivochen works at the University of Reading on artificial grammars, as part of a group led by Prof. Douglas Saddy. We chatted to him about how they are currently used and how their future development could revolutionise diagnosis of speech and language impairments.

1.      What is an artificial grammar system?

[Read more…]

Learning Foreign Languages (Nearly) Naturally

This article is part of the international bloggers event “Learning foreign languages (nearly) naturally”, organised by the blog ‘Le Français illustré’ (French language illustrated).

As a French creative practitioner based in Scotland for over 20 years and working with children ever since, I can safely say that:
– Constantly juggling between English and French languages, I am bilingual.
– I have a passion for education
– I have an equal passion for sharing my language and culture.
– And I love making things (especially puppets!)

So after qualifying in Childcare and Education, I created my own professional path and set up a bilingual puppet theatre company. The aim: introduce children to my language in the most natural way I could think of – through French talking puppets. [Read more…]

Where Language and Identity Intersect

Post by Elie Abraham (they/them)
Composer, Sound Designer, Voice Actor,
Escape Designer, Comedian, Queer Activist

My experience with language has been quite peculiar. Imagine: I grew up as a first-generation child two to immigrant parents from different countries. They spoke to me in their native tongues, Finnish and Hebrew, but to each other in their common language, English. After a daycare teacher threatened my mother 20+ years ago with “Your child will never learn English” when picking up my younger sister, she decided to quit speaking Finnish to us. My father, a much more stubborn man, did not only refuse to stop speaking to us in his native language, Hebrew, but sent us to a private school where we would continue learning it. [Read more…]

Euskaldun: Language and the Basque Identity

Growing up in the Basque Country, everyone is acutely aware of languages. Whether you speak Basque or not, whether you’re enrolled in Basque medium education or Spanish medium education, whether you choose to talk to your children in Basque or Spanish, or both, there are many decisions involving language that one has to take from early on. From big life decisions such as your children’s schooling to small everyday choices: do you greet in Spanish or Basque when you walk into a shop? That depends. [Read more…]

‘It feels right for us’ – experiences of a multilingual family

Post by Susanne Obenaus, SLP & multilingual mother

As a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), I always felt confident in advising multilingual parents on how to include all their languages into the family’s everyday life. I followed official guidelines, performed standardized tests and handed out leaflets describing multilingual upbringing of children.

And then we had our children – raised trilingual – and my perception changed. [Read more…]

Our World Is Colourful! A language celebration kindergarten project

Post by Eva-maria Schnelten

St. Agnes Kindergarten in my hometown of Lastrup, Germany, embarked on a 7- week project called “Our World Is Colourful” in April 2016. In the context of growing tensions on a global scale regarding refugees and migration, this project was developed to help the children within the kindergarten understand each other’s backgrounds and everything that goes with that: obvious differences like languages, but also subtle cultural differences like playing games. [Read more…]