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Multilingualism seminar

Challenging monolingual histories / Autism and bilingualism

2 May 2019, 13:00 – 14:30

Room GR06/07, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, 9 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

Challenging monolingual histories: Multilingual evidence from the Dutch-German borderlands in the long nineteenth century 

by Andreas Krogull 

Traditionally, European language histories (e.g. of German, Dutch and English) have been portrayed as being first and foremost monolingual. This strong focus has become particularly evident in the period from c. 1800 onwards, when the dominant ideology of ‘one language–one nation’ suppressed any form of linguistic diversity, such as dialects, regional or minority languages, for the benefit of a homogeneous national or standard language. Against the background of politically segregated nation-states, borderlands have often been ‘invisibilised’ in language historiography, leading to the exclusion of contact phenomena and multilingual practices.

This presentation takes a historical-sociolinguistic perspective ‘from below’, exploring archival sources from the Dutch-German borderlands and their potential to challenge the monolingual bias. Zooming in on a collection of letters written by so-called hannekemaaiers, i.e. (Low) German seasonal labourers who crossed the border to the Netherlands every year to work as haymakers or grass-mowers, I will outline the specific contact setting of labour migration in the long nineteenth century. Furthermore, it will be discussed how the remarkable linguistic practices found in these handwritten ego-documents can contribute to a wider understanding of post-1800 language history beyond monolingualism and standard language ideology.


Autism and Bilingualism: A review of theory, policy and practice to inform evidence-based Speech and Language Therapy services

by Melanie Greaux

Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) services offer ideal expertise to support the communication abilities of autistic children (Royal College of Speech & Language Therapist, 2009). However, whilst interventions have been evidenced to benefit monolingual children with autism (Adams et al., 2012), practice appears to crumble in face of linguistic and cultural diversity. Limitations are found at all stages of the care journey: referrals reflect inequitable access to services (St. Amant, Chrager, Peña-Ricardo, Williams, & Vanderbilt, 2018), clinicians report being under-equipped during the assessment phase (Arias & Friberg, 2017) and disclose the struggle to integrate more than one language in intervention programmes (Jordaan, 2008). In the age of globalisation, there is an urgent need to investigate the necessary adaptations for SLT services to best support the linguistic and culturally diverse autistic community.

This presentation aims to (1) critically analyse the literature on bilingualism and autism using the lens of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (World Health Organization, 2001); (2) review SLT evidence-based guidelines (Stow & Pert, 2015) and actual practice for bilingual children with autism; (3) identify research priorities to foster more inclusive and evidence-based SLT services.

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Speaker 1: Dr Andreas Krogull, MEITS postdoctoral research associate, University of Cambridge; Speaker 2: Melanie Greaux, PhD student, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.

13:00 - 14:30


Room GR06/07, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, 9 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

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