University of Birmingham: Researching multilingualism, multilingualism in research practice

MOSAIC logoOn March 25-26, 2013, the University of Birmingham’s MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism will be hosting the conference “Responding to contemporary multilingual realities, recasting research methodologies”.

This final conference wraps up the the ESRC RDI project on Researching multilingualism, multilingualism in research practice and is intended to reflect on the nature of the changes that have been taking place in approaches to the teaching of research methodology courses in this field and to map out new directions, focusing on methodologies that are best attuned to research on linguistic diversity in the late modern era.

If you are interested in participating in this event, please contact Teresa Wendler (t.wendler@bham.ac.uk). For further information please get in touch with the conference organisers: Marilyn Martin-Jones (m.martinjones@bham.ac.uk) and Deirdre Martin (d.m.martin@bham.ac.uk). Places are limited so early registration is advised.

For more information about the project, go to the project website.

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Reasoning and decision-making less biased, more analytical in foreign language

The potential benefits of language learning have been all over the news: Second language learning fosters cognitive development. It increases brain functions. It can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It improves first language knowledge and performance.

A new study shows that “Reasoning is Sharper in a Foreign Language”: We tend to be more risk-averse in our first language when presented with a choice between potential loss and potential gain – for example when gambling – even if the eventual outcome is the same. This cognitive bias disappears when the same decision is put to us in a foreign language: “When people use a foreign language, their decisions tend to be less biased, more analytic, more systematic, because the foreign language provides psychological distance”, according to Boaz Keysar, lead author of the study which was first published in Psychological Science in April 2012. The authors propose that “these effects arise because a foreign language provides greater cognitive and emotional distance than a native tongue does.”

To learn more, go here.

International Conference: Towards Plurilingualism

The 1st International Conference on Applied Linguistics to Language Teaching: Towards Plurilingualism will take place at Nebrija University (Department of Applied Linguistics) in Madrid, 28-30 September 2012. It will provide an opportunity for researchers and teachers, both experts and novices, to share the results of studies and didactic experiences.

Venue: Dehesa de la Villa campus in Madrid, Spain.
Registration deadline: 17 September 2012
To learn more about this event, click here.

Infographic: Advantages of being bilingual

Looking for a visual aid to highlight some of the advantages of speaking more than one language? This infographic might do the trick:

Via: Voxy Blog

Click here for some ideas on how to use this in class.

European Union remains committed to multilingualism

A new post on the sociolinguistics research site ‘Language-on-the-Move’ discusses the findings of the new 2012 Eurobarometer ‘Europeans and their languages’, published last month. The report indicates that the European Union continues to value linguistic diversity and to promote multilingualism throughout its memberstates under the formula ‘national language, English, another language’.

However, there are some indications that the prominence of English has actually led to fewer languages being learned in some European countries, with the proportion of respondents who speak at least two languages having declined in some countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary).

To read the full post on Language-on-the-Move, click here.