MEITS Blog


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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Translation as performance in “Found in Translation: Literary Dispatches from the Peripheries of Europe”

by Delphine Grass

What happens when we have to work or interact with languages we do not understand?  How much does performance play a part in literary and poetry translations? “Found in Translation: Literary Dispatches from the Peripheries of Europe”, a MEITS funded event I curated on the 29 March 2019 as part of my “Translation as Creative Critical Practice” research project, has recently encouraged me to think of translation as a performance in its own right.

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Plurilingualism in the flesh – tales from an academic’s travels

by Nicola McLelland

I’m just back from travels in Luxembourg (well, the airport!), Switzerland and Germany. German specialists like me love to cite Luxembourg and Switzerland as examples of societal multilingualism, where individual plurilingualism is very common. So it was interesting to experience the reality. Not all was entirely as I expected.

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A drop-down menu for languages? Historical-sociolinguistic research in the archives

by Andreas Krogull

Archives are wonderful places. They allow us not only to, quite literally, touch the past, but also to learn a lot about languages and how these were used centuries ago. As a historical sociolinguist working on the history of Dutch, I have visited countless archives over the past few years, mostly in the Netherlands, in order to collect data. Following the research tradition that is known as language history ‘from below’, I am particularly interested in handwritten sources from the private domain, such as letters and diaries. These first-person accounts give us unique insights into ‘ordinary’ language use, which has been neglected in traditional history writing, but can still be found in the archives

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