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.
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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…]

Thomas Bak on BBC Scotland Brainwaves

I would say language could be part of a healthy lifestyle exactly like physical exercise and having a healthy balanced diet.

Our co-director Dr Thomas Bak featured this week on the BBC Radio Scotland programme ‘Brainwaves’, discussing attitudes to bilingualism and what science tells us about how it affects our brains. You can listen to the programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09pz108

And also read about his work with social enterprise Lingo Flamingo in a news feature on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42886423

 

 

Video: Language Learning in the USA

Bilingualism Matters was delighted to be involved in the National Languages Networking meeting in Glasgow this week. The meeting was an opportunity for educators from across Scotland to explore how we can develop language teaching in our schools, with a focus on the “1 + 2” approach to language learning here in Scotland (more details on 1 + 2 are available on the SCILT website).

As part of the programme presented by Education Scotland, which included a talk by Bilingualism Matters Director Antonella Sorace on ‘Second language learning: benefits and challenges’, the co-director of our new Bilingualism Matters branch in California, Prof. Judith Kroll, recorded a special presentation on the current context for language learning in the USA. In her presentation, she introduced recent research findings on the benefits of language learning for brain development. The full presentation can be viewed on YouTube.

Bilingualism Matters International Meeting on 15 November 2017

Members of Bilingualism Matters branches from around the world came together recently in Barcelona for a meeting to discuss how we can better work together, sharing expertise and resources to empower individuals, communities and policy makers to make informed decisions about bilingualism and language learning. [Read more…]

Barcelona Summer School on Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Blog post by Eva-maria Schnelten

In September, the University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona hosted the Barcelona Summer School on Bilingualism and Multilingualism, a renowned school for postgraduate students and researchers to gather, present and discuss the newest developments in their respective fields.

A few members of Bilingualism Matters Edinburgh were able to attend this year, promoting their research either in an oral presentation or a poster session.

The overarching theme was, as the name suggests, research concerning bilingualism and multilingualism: ranging from neuro-cognitive factors and the implications for ageing and health to the sociolinguistic development in bilingual children. The talks and posters provided an interesting and broad overview of the work that has been conducted in the field. [Read more…]

Bilingualism Matters in California

Covadonga Lamar Prieto, Antonella Sorace, Judith Kroll

On 2nd October 2017, Antonella Sorace travelled to University of California, Riverside, to open the 17th international branch of Bilingualism Matters. [Read more…]

Lost for words? Considering language attrition

Discussions at workshop

Bilingualism Matters is delighted to be involved in ESRC-funded First Language Attrition Seminar Series, which is led by Monika Schmid, University of Essex. As part of the series, we hosted a two-day workshop on “The Selectivity of Native Language Attrition” last week, which delivered interesting new findings in bilingualism research.

The term ‘attrition’ is somewhat controversial, as it refers to the decline in proficiency in one language for bilinguals – their native language. This is a common occurrence for bilinguals [Read more…]

The Importance of the Native Language – Practitioner Day (Birkbeck, University of London, November 10th 2017)

Photo: iStock

Bilingualism Matters is excited to be involved in this final event in  a series of academic conferences and workshops funded by the ESRC.

The Importance of the Native Language – Practitioner Day is on November 10th 2017 from 9:00-5:00 pm at Birkbeck, University of London. This event is part of the 2017 ESRC Festival of Social Science and will be hosted by [Read more…]