MEITS Blog


Why limited resource models are of limited use, particularly when it comes to languages.

by Thomas H Bak

In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and lifting of travel restrictions, Vienna become a favourite destination for Eastern Europeans keen to buy hitherto unavailable Western goods. My West German friend Wilhelm recalled a conversation with an East German colleague while looking at the frantic markets. “Poor Viennese”, said the East German, “those Eastern Europeans will buy everything and leave them with nothing”. “Lucky Viennese”, answered Wilhelm, “they are doing the business of their lifetime”. Obviously, their comments reflected different economic reality under which they grew up, but they illustrate rather well the general contrast between “limited resource” and “added value” models.

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Education is much more than just going to school and bilingualism is an important part of it

by Thomas H Bak

There is hardly an idea as deeply ingrained and universally shared across academia as the belief in the value of education. Education is a good thing, and the more we can get of it the better. Conversely, lack of education is one of the worst evils. After all, education is our profession, our mission and, to a large extent, our raison d’être.

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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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