Multilingual Living’s Week in Review: March 6

by Corey · 0 comments

Can Languages Coexist?
Is it possible for languages to coexist in the same community without one pushing out the other? Why does bilingualism survive in some areas but not others?

Researchers report in the New Journal of Physics that a few key factors help to determine whether languages will be able to coexist with one another: “This happens only where there is a stable bilingual group, and this is possible only if the competing languages are sufficiently similar, in which case its occurrence is favoured by both similarity and status symmetry.” Watch the excellent video that goes with the article The importance of interlinguistic similarity and stable bilingualism when two languages compete.

Another post about this research, Bilingualism key to the survival of a language, talks about the same research where they point out the following: “But while the findings may spell good news for some languages, it still leaves doubts over the long-term survival of more isolated languages such as Welsh and Quechua.”

However, there is confidence in Wales that eventually Welsh could reach a point of coexisting successfully with English as discussed in Bilingual countries like Wales show society can have more than one language.

News, Stories, and More…
The following are news reports, research, stories and more that came my way via Twitter this week:

  • What Shapes Our Language? [INFOGRAPHIC]:  “…beyond new words, technology has had a big impact on the ways in which we communicate, particularly with respect to how many words it takes us to get our point across.” View the infographic to learn more.
  • Visual Cortex Processes Language, Changes Understanding of Brain’s Boundaries: “…MIT research team has found that the brain is flexible when assigning functions to certain areas, and for the first time, evidence is available for flexibility in language processing. “
  • Language bootstrapping the brain: This post is in response to the above MIT research and adds some very interesting observations! “The fact that one of the most domain-specific cortical regions of the brain can, to some degree, be reprogrammed to support language processing suggests that language itself is surprisingly voracious in its ability to consume brain resources and redirect development.”
  • Some Myths Regarding ELLs and Special Education: Great information about the differences between a child who is learning a new language and one who has a language disorder. This is aimed at educators but parents may find the information helpful.
  • “…it isn’t a noise, it’s my language!” A lovely post and video focused on “Mama Africa” who shares an important lesson in cultural understanding. “Everywhere we go, people often ask me: ‘How do you make that noise?’ It used to offend me – because it isn’t a noise, it’s my language!”
  • Being Bilingual: Beneficial Workout for the Brain: “…babies exposed to multiple languages do not get confused, but quickly learn to distinguish between languages and build a stronger ‘perceptual vigilance.'”
  • Italy makes immigrants speak Italian: “Italy is the latest Western European country turning the screws on an expanding immigrant population by demanding language skills in exchange for work permits, or in some cases, citizenship.”
  • English in new light: “Bilingual education is the key to language learning.  Translanguaging is a recent method widely used to help children develop and reinforce both their first and second languages. It is found to promote better understanding of the subject when discussed in one language and written in another.”
  • Chinese language could rival English: NTU head: “Dr. Si-chen Lee, president of National Taiwan University (NTU), said yesterday morning that the concept “globalization means Englishization” has changed along with the rapid rise of China, and Chinese and English may become two major common international languages in the next five to 10 years.”
  • Demand for Multilingual Recruitment Blooming! “Despite unemployment figures rising across UK and Europe after the ‘European Recession’ in 2009, the demand for multilingual recruitment is still thriving with UK employers according to Top Language Jobs, Europe’s largest online job board for bilingual and multilingual candidates.”
  • Tweeting as Gaeilge: Social networking and the Irish language: “I would say that the development of social media has been of great benefit for Irish language organisations. It’s very cost effective and is a useful way of connecting with Irish speakers online.”

Do you have any tips, suggestions or information that you would like to share with us at Multilingual Living? Join me on Twitter, get into the conversation on the Multilingual Living Facebook page, and send me an email whenever you’d like to connect. I always enjoy connecting with other bilingual and multilingual families!

Corey Heller is the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Multilingual Living Magazine. Multilingual Living is the place where she shares her knowledge about raising multilingual and multicultural children. Corey, an American, and her German husband live in Seattle where they raise and homeschool their three children, ages 15, 14 and 12, in German and English.

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