MEITS Blog


Radio connects Irish speakers

by Robbie Hannan

Due to Covid-19 lockdown, I have been working from home for some time along with our youngest son and daughter. So far, the arrangement is going well, although things can get a bit tetchy as cocktail hour approaches on Fridays!

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What’s Coronavirus doing to our languages?

by Hui (Annette) Zhao

As I write this blog on 23rd April, most of the UK, apart from our keyworkers (thank you!), will have been stuck at home for a whole month since 23rd March. As we adjust to the physical challenges brought about by coronavirus, it will come as no surprise to most readers when I say that our language is also being affected by the current situation.

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Old words, new conversations

by Harper Staples

The Oxford English Dictionary’s website posted an announcement earlier this month that there would be an "unusual departure” from their normal quarterly lexicon update, with certain words and abbreviations showing unprecedented levels of current use to be identified and updated in the records. These are, of course, terms related to the current coronavirus pandemic, but what I found surprising is that, in fact, only one of the words referenced is a neologism, Covid-19 (I will assume no definition necessary!).

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Language difficult?

by Henriette Hendriks

Yesterday I was listening in on a toddler trying to get to grips with prepositions, the short words we use in our languages to describe where an object is: in, out, on, under. You would think it is quite straightforward to learn those words. They have only a few letters and are very frequently used in the language. But is it really that easy?

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Multilingualism and multiple ways of thinking about the world?

by Alim Tusun

There is a popular understanding that people speaking different languages think differently about the world. But is this indeed the case? What happens with people speaking two or more languages? Does learning a new language entail developing a new way of thinking about the world? Researchers have been trying to answer these questions by looking at how speakers of different languages talk about basic experiential domains like time, space and colour and we will explore the spatial domain here.

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Multilingualism as the norm in education!

by Dieuwerke (Dee) Rutgers

Highlighting the central role of language in education and learning seems like stating the obvious. After all, language provides the key tool through which we humans are able to share knowledge across generations. Yet, the full implications of language for teaching and learning are often insufficiently acknowledged and incorporated in educational practice.

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The Challenges of bilingual language education: the case of Chinese and Mongolian in China

by Jiaye Wu

Europeans know of some kinds of bilingual education - Welsh English in Wales, English as a foreign language in most of Europe, German as a second language for Syrian refugees, for example. You don’t hear so much in Europe about bilingual education in China, despite the existence of 55 recognized ethnic minorities, each with their own language. But that – or more precisely, one example of it, Mongolian-Chinese education – is the focus of my PhD.

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Languages for all?

by Karen Forbes

On 17th January 2020 the House of Commons published a briefing paper on language teaching in schools in England. It highlights results from a European Commission survey which reported that only 32% of 16-30 year olds in the UK felt confident reading and writing in two or more languages. To put this in (a rather dismal) perspective, the average across all EU member states is 80%.

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