Language Lessons on the NHS

Bilingualism Matters performing at Edinburgh Fringe

Should we be prescribed language lessons on the NHS rather than drugs?

Dr Thomas Bak,Deputy Director,Reader in human Cognitive Neuroscience, will be performing in the Fringe this Thursday 11th August at pm,St Andrew Square,Edinburgh [Read more…]

Research participants wanted: Adults aged 20-40

Researchers are looking for 20-40 year olds to take part in a study on cognitive functions and communication skills.

Participant requirements

* Native or advanced speakers of English

* Aged between 20-40

* Have no history of hearing or language impairment and have normal or corrected-to-normal vision

Take part in the study

In the first task, you’ll be instructed to count tones played on a computer. The second task involves naming images displayed on an i-pad such that the experimenter is able to identify them (this task will be audio recorded for analysis). Finally, there is a brief language background questionnaire.

Testing takes 30 minutes and is administered in the University of Edinburgh’s Psychology Building (7 George Square, central campus).

Participants will be paid £5 (cash payment) for contributing to this research.

Testing will take place until the end of July. For further information or to register your interest, please contact Madeleine Long (

Being bilingual is magical

I was born in England and moved to Pakistan aged 3. I guess I must have started school aged 6 or 7.  In Pakistan I was educated in the national language of Pakistan (Urdu), and speaking the regional language at home (Punjabi). Here I must point out that Punjabi is also the language of the Punjab region of India. The difference in between the Pakistani and Indian Punjabi is that, in Pakistan it is only spoken, where as in India it is a complete language. Almost every child with my background would be  learning to read Arabic (as the Holly Book Quran is In Arabic and is read by many who do not understand the language), often without having any or very little  understanding. Therefore any child with Pakistani background in the UK, would either be speaking Urdu/Punjabi, reading Arabic and speaking, reading and writing English. [Read more…]

From Spanish learner to volunteer Spanish teacher

I don’t remember when my love for languages first started, but I do remember the various exchange students my family hosted over the years, and I certainly remember when I myself spent a year as an exchange student in Argentina. During that period, I lived with two host families, attended two different high schools, and became absorbed in the country, its people and its culture. After that year in Argentina, I pretty much considered myself bilingual, although looking back I realise how much I still had to learn. My next adventure brought me to Spain, teaching English in multinational corporations, and of course, drastically improving my Spanish to the point where now I really am bilingual!

I arrived in Edinburgh in August 2014 as a Masters student in Developmental Linguistics. The course is fantastic, but I found that I really missed teaching. So when I heard about the Volunteer Language Assistant program in the City of Edinburgh schools, I jumped at the chance to teach Spanish to young people. [Read more…]

Life as a research student of bilingualism

I have always loved languages. In particular, I have always loved French, and I started to learn basic words and phrases during my childhood years. (Famously, my dad tried to make me say thank you in French before I got to blow out the candles on my 4th birthday cake, but before I could, my 2 year old sister came out with a tiny merci and completely stole the limelight.) I originally hail from Australia, so when we moved to the UK in 2002 I was very excited to be surrounded by so many different languages – despite the fact that Australia is home to over 200 indigenous languages, nearly 80% of the population speak only English[1]. Visiting Paris at age 12 left quite an impression on me, as I’d never been somewhere where the street signs weren’t in English. Listening to people chat on the métro with no idea what they were talking about sparked great curiosity within me. Ten years later,  I’ve ended up really quite in love with speaking French (my sister can no longer trump me) and as a postgraduate research student at the University of Edinburgh, the French language now forms a major part of my research. [Read more…]