MEITS Blog


Noticing languages - noticing linguistic inequality

by Nicola McLelland

I’ve just been called up for Jury Service – my first time – and I’m approaching it with what I’m guessing is the usual mix of curiosity, eagerness to be useful, and nervousness. The last time I set foot in a courtroom was doing work experience as a teenager, shadowing a court interpreter. The defendant who needed the interpreter was convicted of a driving offence. He said he hadn’t understood the rules, but, I discovered, that was no defence, though it might mean a more lenient sentence.

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The myth of English as the language of science?

by Dieuwerke (Dee) Rutgers

In this day and age, it is hard to imagine the world of science without English: The dominance of English as the lingua franca of the international scientific community is generally undisputed, even if the impacts of this dominance are more contested. My aim here is not to make a claim to the contrary: English is indeed the preferred language of scientific communications today. Still, I wonder – might there be more to the ‘language of science’ than meets the proverbial eye? How ‘English’ is our scientific language anyway, and what does this reveal about the history of science? Might our bias towards science published in English be leading to lost knowledge and missed opportunities? What are the less visible and less tangible parts of our scientific endeavours, and what roles do languages play within this?

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Angkor Supermarket: Multilingual landscapes of Cambodia

by Hui (Annette) Zhao

In January 2019, I went to a linguistic anthropology conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia (CALA – the Conference on Asian Linguistic Anthropology). Before the trip, all I knew about the city was ‘oh, that’s where Angkor Wat is!’. I boarded the plane to Siem Reap, hoping that my languages (Mandarin, English and a bit of French) would help me survive the 5 days since my Khmer is limited to ‘អរគុណ’ (pronounced /ʔɑˈkun/, meaning ‘thank you’).

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Will you be my Valen-cia-tine? Finding language lovers in Valencian schools

by Dominic Keown

Whether we like it or not, the notion of impact has brought a whole new dimension to the way disciplines in the Humanities have to address themselves. Once academically inward-looking subjects, which remained untroubled in the protective, intellectual comfort of bygone ages, arts and literatures, our subjects have had to find avenues of immediacy to connect with a wider range of audiences in an effort to underline the relevance of their teaching and research.

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What, if anything, makes learning English different from learning other languages?

by Henriette Hendriks

We Skyped the son of a friend of ours last week. He’s from the Netherlands and needed to interview a British citizen for his English homework. He sent an email,  in English, inviting my British partner to participate and then proceeded to conduct the interview in fluent and almost flawless English.

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Towards a Community-Based Strategy to Support Bilingual Migrant Children across the Lifespan

by Yongcan Liu

The UK is undergoing a period of uncertainty due to the historical vote to leave the European Union in March 2019, which has created both opportunities and challenges. While the government is keen to control borders, it is also actively looking for new ways to support migrants within borders. 

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MEITS does the Festival of Ideas

by Katie Howard

There is little doubt that having some knowledge and appreciation of different languages can provide us with unique access to cultures, communities and countries across the world. It is with this thought in mind that our MEITS Festival of Ideas event, Languages: Your passport to the world, took place on 20 October 2018.

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Does language learning lead to healthier ageing?

by Mariana Vega-Mendoza

I remember very well my own journey into learning a foreign language for the first time. I was back home in Mexico, and I was studying English at school. I was mostly learning vocabulary and grammar, but at that point I didn’t need to use it to communicate. 

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