MEITS Blog


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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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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Learning languages outside of the classroom: a visit to the museum

by Linda Fisher

We all remember the excitement of going on a school trip. Early starts, smelly sandwiches, laughter. Even if it was a very rare "summer lesson" when we were allowed to work outdoors (thanks Mrs Caldwell), that change of scene gave everything an air of adventure and let us lay down memories to savour later in a series of "remember when"s.

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What’s the point in learning languages when we can just use Google translate?

by Karen Forbes

A few days ago, I was asked whether I thought language learning would become redundant in the foreseeable future because of the development of machine learning and translation technology. Or as some of my, shall we say, slightly less enthusiastic former students might have put it: “But what’s the point in learning languages when we can just use Google translate?”

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When EAL meets MFL

by Michael Evans

In a recent speech the Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, commented that, because of having to take the ‘full brunt of economic dislocation in recent years’, ‘white working class communities’ in England lacked ‘the aspiration and drive seen in many migrant communities’ (1).  

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To have your cake and speak it too

by Harper Staples

The 5th of February may have passed you by unnoticed this year, but if you ever happen to be in Finland around this date, you definitely can’t miss it. In Finland, the 5th February is Runeberginpäivä, (Swe. Runebergsdagen) or Runeberg’s day, a celebration of the birth of the Finnish poet J. L. Runeberg, who penned the lyrics to the country’s national anthem.

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Est-ce qu’il y a anybody out there (there…there…)? Tackling the “echo chamber” in public engagement

by Angela Gayton

As we kick off a new year of the MEITS project, it seems worthwhile to reflect on our public engagement activities throughout 2017, to ensure we’re thinking carefully about who, of the public, we’re engaging with exactly.

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Stories of Multilingualism

by Dieuwerke (Dee) Rutgers

Naturally, the question of what it means to be multilingual is one I receive frequently in my work as a researcher on the MEITS project. In the simplest terms, being multilingual can perhaps be defined as ‘being able to speak or use more than one language’.

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