New Centre promotes benefits of bilingualism

People living in Scotland are set to benefit from a new centre that will encourage and support speaking more than one language.

Photo of schoolschildren in a language class

Teachers, speech-language therapists, language policy bodies and business leaders attended the launch of Bilingualism Matters, a centre based at the University to promote the benefits of multilingualism and language learning.

Raising awareness

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.

Promoting language learning

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.

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.

Professor Antonella SoraceSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences