MEITS Blog


Language across the curriculum

by Karen Forbes

Conversations which have made me reflect on the position of ‘language’ more generally within the curriculum and the respective priorities and responsibilities of English and MFL teachers in schools. These two subject areas are often based in separate departments in schools, yet given that both have a shared focus on developing important language skills, surely we are missing opportunities to establish more links between the two.

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Multilingualism à la française

by Anne-Hélène Halbout

Ta-da! France has a shiny new President. At barely 40, Emmanuel Macron is the youngest democratically elected leader of France ever, fresh blood embodying hope and "renouveau". He is undeniably charming and charismatic with social media recently pitting Macron against Canada's Justin Trudeau in the battle for the sexiest G7 leader!

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Healthy Linguistic Diet

by Thomas H Bak

One of the things that I miss most in the current debates on bilingualism is the lack of interaction between cognitive and social scientists. Both disciplines do important work in this field, but it is very rare that they meet, exchange ideas and discuss their respective findings, let alone develop joint concepts and theories. This is one of the reasons why I was so delighted to be invited by the Directorate-General of Education and Culture at the European Commission for the meeting of the 4th Thematic Panel on Languages and Literacy held last September in Brussels. This meeting as well as the subsequent one in January 2017 – at which I was invited to give a keynote lecture – gave me a chance to interact directly with people coming from very different professional backgrounds, working with different populations and using different methodologies.

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Language terms

by Michael Evans

The growth of terms and labels which refer to language and, by extension, to language users and language learners is a relatively recent phenomenon and perhaps can be explained by the increased interest since the mid-twentieth century in researching linguistic diversity in different socio-educational settings. Ambiguities arise sometimes because of the overlap of meaning between many of the terms or because different authors interpret and use the terms in different ways. There are also differences in use of labels in different countries.

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On the effects of bi-/multilingualism

by Mariana Vega-Mendoza

Being part of the MEITS project has provided me with the opportunity to work with a fantastic team of researchers and address the important topic of multilingualism. Taking Europe as an example, it is estimated that over half of the population are able to speak a second language at the conversational level (European Commission, 2012) and this pattern seems to be growing throughout the years. But what are the implications of such trends?

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Early years language assessment: the role for EdTech

by Napoleon Katsos

If a parent is concerned about their child’s physical development, all they need in order to confirm that the child is growing well for their age is a measuring tape and scales. They can then check height and weight against widely available developmental charts. If you are a parent living in the UK, you will remember the little red book given by the NHS at the birth of each child, where being on or around the 50th percentile suggests that a child is just fine for their age.

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The Northern Ireland election and the Irish language

by Deirdre Dunlevy

Irish was a principal background factor in the breakdown of the Northern Ireland executive in January, resulting in a snap election on Thursday, 2 March. The position of the Irish language in Northern Ireland became a key issue in the election campaign among politicians and constituents alike. Parties clashed over the need to introduce an Irish Language Act, with some major parties vehemently opposed to any concessions towards the language.

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Is acquiring a second language like acquiring the first?

by Yanyu Guo

Human language has posed great challenges for learning sciences. It has long been noted that children acquire language with relative ease and rapidity and without effort or formal teaching while adult second language (L2) learners cannot. In particular, children show creativity in the course of first language (L1) acquisition, which goes far beyond the input that they are exposed to. This was dubbed as the poverty of the stimulus by Chomsky (1980), with an assertion that human’s knowledge about natural language grammar is supplemented with some sort of innate linguistic capacity. Chomsky (1965) put forth a hypothetical module called the language acquisition device (LAD), which enables human to acquire and produce language.

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