Teachers, speech-language therapists, language policy bodies and business leaders gathered at the launch of Bilingualism Matters, a centre based at the University of Edinburgh to promote the benefits of multilingualism and language learning.
The centre is an expansion of the existing information service ‘Bilingualism Matters’ and will continue to raise awareness of speaking more than one language through community projects such as talks in schools, information sessions for public and private organisations, and offering advice for families.
The Bilingualism Matters Centre already has branches across Europe – in Croatia, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and Norway – and will be extended to include new branches in other European Countries and the United States within the next six months.
Professor Antonella Sorace, Director of the Centre says that children exposed to different languages have a better understanding of how language works and tend to become more aware of different cultures, other people and other points of view. But in some cases they also tend to be better than those who only speak one language at ‘multitasking’ and focusing attention.
Professor Sorace, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said: “With the Scottish Government’s commitment to introducing languages at primary school, this is a very exciting time for all those involved in promoting language learning. The creation of a new centre is an example of the University’s commitment to making sure people are aware of the facts, benefits and challenges of speaking more than one language.”
The Bilingualism Matters Centre can be accessed at https:// https://www.bilingualism-matters.ppls.ed.ac.uk/