MULTILINGUALISM: EMPOWERING INDIVIDUALS, TRANSFORMING SOCIETIES

MEITS is a major interdisciplinary research project funded under the AHRC Open World Research Initiative. Linguistic competence in more than one language – being multilingual – sits at the heart of the study of modern languages and literatures, distinguishing it from cognate disciplines. Through six interlocking research strands we investigate how the insights gained from stepping outside a single language, culture and mode of thought are vital to individuals and societies.


Recent News

Insights into dictionary publication at Collins

In addition to its inclusion of researchers from multiple universities, MEITS has a number of external partners, which provide welcome perspectives on our work from a position outside academia. One such partner is HarperCollins Publishers, which is associated particularly with strand 2 of MEITS in that issues around language standardisation are especially relevant to the production of dictionaries: Collins is one of the UK’s best-known and longest-established dictionary publishers. As well as being able to provide insights on the challenges of creating dictionaries for numerous languages, particularly those where multiple norms or standards coexist, HarperCollins has also provided internship positions to MEITS researchers with the aim of offering experience of the dictionary creation process, focusing on issues around norms and variation

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Pop-Up World of Languages – the first UK pop-up museum of languages!

Discover the weird and wonderful world of languages!

The UK has a museum for dog collars and lawn mowers, but not for languages. This autumn we are launching our innovative Pop-Up World of Languages to fill this gap.
Join us on a journey through our three zones to uncover the hidden treasures of languages through our family-friendly, hands-on activities and games.

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Upcoming Events

12 Sep

Multilingualism and Identity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Murray Edwards College University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
19 Oct

Pop-Up World of Languages – the first UK pop-up museum of languages!

Cambridge, Belfast, Edinburgh, Nottingham & London

Policy Journal

Languages, Society & Policy: Mission

LSP publishes high-quality peer-reviewed language research in accessible and non-technical language to promote policy engagement and provide expertise to policy makers, journalists and stakeholders in education, health, business and elsewhere. 

Language underpins every aspect of human activity, social, economic and cultural. Insights from language and linguistics research can improve policy making and have the potential to impact on a wide range of areas of public life. 

We publish Policy Papers, Opinion Articles,  short and accessible papers from the Research Lab and Dialogues. We also occasionally publish policy reviews.

LSP promotes the multidisciplinarity of linguistics and language research and welcomes contributions from diverse disciplines including, but not restricted to, linguistics, modern languages, cultural studies, cognitive science, developmental linguistics and psychology, sociolinguistics, corpus and computational linguistics, education, health sciences, psychology and neuroscience. For information on how to submit a paper, please see our Editorial Guidelines.

ISSN 2515-3854

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Recent Blog

Is my Chinese good?

“My Chinese is not good”, a heritage speaker involved in my linguistic study said with some discomfort, after finishing a Chinese reading task of the experiment. The time he spent on the task was almost twice the average, even slower than some non-heritage learners at a beginner level. However, he performed in a native-like way in listening and speaking tasks, in terms of both accuracy and reaction times. Heritage learners seem to have no problem with grammar but struggle with Chinese character recognition. They are bilinguals, but not biliterals.

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Developing multilingual theatre: Polyphonic I and II

In May this year, the performers of theatre company, Acting Now, with the support of Polygon Arts, regrouped for a revised production of their devised piece, Polyphonic.  First performed in October 2018 by individuals drawn from a dozen linguistic backgrounds, the production was created in the multiple languages spoken in the group alongside a physical, theatrical language.  Less multilingual but very much intercultural, the process of development and performance opened up questions around language dominance and linguistic nuance as well as how theatrical play offers a space in which such issues can become sources of creativity.

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Teaching standard Mandarin pronunciation to Mongolian learners over the past hundred years

Mandarin Chinese, an emerging key world business language, has become a foreign language option for some UK students in recent decades. Research into state secondary schools in England shows that only 7-8% offered Chinese as a subject in 2005 with this number nearly doubling to 13% in 2015. By 2020, the UK government hopes to have 400,000 students enrolled in Mandarin courses. In China, although Mandarin is the first language of the majority Han population, 106.43 million or 8.41 percent of the total population in China are ethnic minorities who speak other languages. While a high number of these also learn Mandarin as a second language, how different is the Mandarin taught to them compared with that taught to the mother-tongue Han students or to foreign students worldwide? Has this changed over time? In this blog, I will showcase how one particular ethnic minority group in China, the Mongolians, have been taught Mandarin pronunciation over the last hundred years.

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