Titel lezing: Bridging the divide: science and public understanding of bilingualism

Voertaal: Engels.

Featuring: Antonella Sorace, Paul Leseman, Ellen Gerrits, Sergio Baauw en Marie Steffens

Toegang: gratis, graag aanmelden via cfh@uu.nl


Progamma: Prof. Sorace, van University of Edingburgh, is een expert op het gebied van tweetaligheid en zal presenteren over de feiten en fabels omtrent tweetaligheid, zowel in het onderzoek als in de praktijk. Na haar presentatie zullen drie linguïstische experts (Paul Leseman, Ellen Gerrits, Sergio Baauw en Marie Steffens) van Universiteit Utrecht dieper ingaan op het belang van onderzoek naar meertaligheid. Deze lezing is niet alleen interessant voor onderzoekers op het gebied van meertaligheid, maar ook voor beleidsmakers, professionals en ouders die dagelijks in aanraking komen met meertaligheid.

Abstract: There are both old and new misconceptions about bilingualism. For example, many people still think that early bilingualism makes children confused and puts them at a disadvantage at school. In contrast, research shows that when there are differences between monolingual and bilingual children, these are almost invariably in favour of bilinguals: bilingual children tend to have a better sense of how language works, an earlier understanding of other people’s points of view, and more mental flexibility in dealing with complex information. Some of these benefits have also been found in adult second language learners, both young and older. At the same time, new myths are emerging about supposed brain-enhancing and therapeutic virtues of bilingualism. I will first illustrate the main facts and challenges of bilingualism, and their implications for an increasingly multilingual society. I will then show how the information and public engagement centre ‘Bilingualism Matters’ is enabling different community sectors, in Scotland and internationally, to make informed and realistic decisions on bilingualism and language learning across the lifespan.