2017 Media Round Up

Our Director Prof Antonella Sorace and Co-director Dr Thomas Bak were in the media throughout 2017 giving their expert opinions on all things bilingual. Some of the highlights are listed together here.

You can read all about Thomas Bak’s research showing how learning a language can stave off the threat of dementia in The Times from April or October last year, and also in the Swindon Advertiser. Or you could listen to him on this topic in the HearSay radio programme from August.

Thomas was also one of the language experts who responded to a Guardian article in August that had suggested English speakers have no need to learn languages – read all about it here.

At Easter time last year, Antonella received a lot of media coverage, including in the Daily Mail, for her contribution to a Heathrow Airport campaign encouraging children to learn languages. She also contributed to the fascinating BBC Radio 4 programme, Speaking in Smaller Tongues, in July last year.

For those of you with language (or Google Translate) skills, Antonella had articles in major Italian publications, Sette and Repubblica, as well as in the Romanian magazine Contemporanul. You can read a great interview with her in the online publication The Science Newspaper from September, and read her opinion on the importance of minority languages and plans to revive Welsh in an iNews article from December.

Finally, both Antonella and Thomas took to Twitter in August 2017 to answer questions directly from the public in a special one hour Q & A session. Read all the questions and answers on Storify.

Antonella and Thomas at their Twitter Q & A Session in August

In the news: article in Italian magazine

Professor Antonella Sorace, Founder and Director of Bilingualism Matters, had an article published yesterday in ‘Sette’, the weekly magazine of major Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. In the article ‘Smontiamo tutti i pregiudizi sul bilinguismo’ (loosely translated ‘Removing Prejudice Against Bilingualism’), she confronts some of the myths surrounding bilingualism with facts from science.

You can read the article online here.

You can see a pdf  of the print version here.


Bilingualism Matters with ‘Little Linguists’ at Heathrow Airport

This Easter, we worked with Heathrow Airport to promote language learning for children, as part of their ‘Little Linguists’ scheme. Our Director, Professor Antonella Sorace, advised in the development of packs of fun flashcards in different languages, designed to spark an interest in language learning for the thousand of families passing through the airport over the Easter 2017 weekend. [Read more…]

Interview on NPR – benefits of bilingual education

Bilingualism Matters Director Professor Antonella Sorace has been interviewed by US media organisation NPR (National Public Radio) for a piece on some of the potential brain benefits of bilingual education. The six areas discussed are: attention; empathy; reading; school performance and engagement; diversity and integration; and protection against cognitive decline and dementia.

Read all about it on the NPR website: 6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education.

Thomas Bak on Public Radio International (PRI)

Earlier this month in the USA, the people of California voted to overturn the historic ban on bilingual education within their state.

In an interview with Public Radio International (PRI), Thomas Bak, Deputy Director of Bilingualism Matters in Edinburgh, shares research findings that may have helped changed attitudes to bilingualism and bilingual education. Find it at 28 to 33 minutes below.

Read about it on the PRI site.

Thomas Bak on BBC Radio Scotland

Listen again to Dr Thomas Bak discussing bilingualism and ageing on BBC Radio Scotland:

Prof. Antonella Sorace discusses Sardinian language and education

Professor Antonella Sorace was recently interviewed by Italian newspaper L’Unione Sarda on the topic of Sardinian, a minority regional language spoken on the island of Sardinia. She explores the misconception that learning Sardinian will be detrimental to children’s education (where Italian is the dominant language).

Read a copy of the article (Italian language):Il bilinguismo? Fa bene al cervello

STV news discuss language learning and dementia

Scots living with dementia are being taught Spanish to help keep their minds active. The Lingo Flamingo project is based on research by the University of Edinburgh which shows learning a foreign language, even later in life, can help improve brain function.

Bilingualism Matters at the American Association for the Advancement of Science

On 13 February, Bilingualism Matters Director Prof. Antonella Sorace delivered a seminar to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – the world’s largest general scientific society. The seminar was titled “Bilingualism Matters” in recognition of the successful engagement programme that Prof. Sorace has helped to develop through the Edinburgh Centre and network of international Bilingualism Matters branches.

During the seminar, Prof. Sorace discussed ongoing research being carried out by experts at the University of Edinburgh’s Psychology and Linguistics departments. The research, focusing on the cognitive benefits of bilingualism, including in older learners – has been widely reported in the UK and international media.





Språkdagen 2015: Norwegian Language Conference

November 18 2015: Prof. Antonella Sorace was an invited speaker at this year’s Norwegian Language Conference, focusing on the theme of Language Diversity in Tomorrow’s Schools.

Prof Sorace spoke about the importance of multilingualism for business, from a UK perspective. The event was followed up by press coverage in national newspaper Dagbladet. You can read the full Norwegian article here