SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

AHRC Skills development scheme: Skills development for language research and teaching in a multilingual world

IMG-AHRC Skills development scheme 2012
'Artwork 'Masala Mandala' by Monica Shanta Brown,'

We live and act in a multilingual world. Multilingualism and cultural diversity shape and determine our reality on many levels, from our identity or ethnicity, up to  international relations and the intricacies of conflict resolution.

This skills development scheme fosters research into the mechanisms of multilingualism. Exploring those mechanisms is  crucial not only for linguistic science and language teaching, but also for research in many fields of the humanities and social sciences, such as history, sociology, globalisation, education, migration, and development.

The scheme consists of training activities and placements for invited participants from SOAS and its partner institutions, the Universities of Lund and Bangor, and of a series of public events: talks and seminars related to the issues of multilingualism.

The scheme will culminate in the Multilingualism Week, a public outreach event, in June 2013.

Skills development workshops (for invited participants only)

18-20 Sept 2012

Workshop on identity and multilingualism, invited speaker: Prof. Itesh Sachdev, SOAS

This workshop will be an introduction to examining aspects of multilingualism in London.  London is one of the most ethnolinguistically diverse cities in the world.  The workshop will examine some of this diversity to set the scene for the participants to conduct a mini-research project on language use and attitudes.  

A brief overview of methodologies for data collection will be presented and discussed before the mini-research. The participants will then collect data and report on their findings. They will  also learn how to use academic research for outreach activities and how to communicate research results to the general public.  

21 & 22 Sept 2012SOAS-PLIDAM Doctoral Seminar
10-12 Dec 2012

Workshop on the sociolinguistic aspects of multilingualism, invited speaker: Prof. Anne Pauwels, SOAS

In this workshop we will focus on multilingualism linked to transnational mobility and movement. This type of ‘multilingualism’ is characterized by a high degree of dynamism, often leading to shifts away from the speaker’s original linguistic constellations to new ones associated with the new linguistic environment. We will examine changes in these linguistic constellations and practices both from a macro- and micro- sociolinguistic perspective. Three main issues will be covered:

  • Methods for the examination of diverse linguistic practices and language use in dynamic settings: particular attention will be paid to (1) linguistic demography, (2) in depth-language use surveys, (3) diaries and personal narratives.
  • Multilingualism and space: here we will explore the increasing multilinguality of urban (linguistic) landscapes and the role/impact of ‘cyberspace’ in multilingual practices.
  • Managing dynamic multilingualism: here we explore the policy aspect of multilingualism: how do communities, nations, and other polities manage multilingualism (e.g., the status of the various languages in society, language education and language services).
25-27 Feb 2013

Workshop on multimodality and multilingualism, invited speaker: Prof. Marianne Gullberg, Lund University

This workshop focuses on the way in which multilingual speakers use auditory and visual modalities to communicate. The focus will be on speech and gesture, with a brief mention of sign languages. Until recently, studies of second Language acquisition and multilingualism have not considered gestures as theoretically relevant. But contemporary gesture studies see gestures as tightly linked to language production, comprehension, to development and contextual use, at the crossroads of cognitive and interactive concerns. As such, gestures become pertinent to multilingualism in several ways. This course aims to illustrate how gestures can improve our understanding of how adults learn and manage multiple languages. We will address questions such as: What are gestures and how can we study them? What is the scope and nature of cross-cultural and cross-linguistic gestural variation? What consequences does it have for multilingual language use and what do gestures reveal about learning and multilingualism? What if you are multilingual in spoken and sign languages?

22-24 April 2013

Workshop on building multilingual corpora, invited speaker: Prof. Margaret Deuchar, Bangor University

This workshop will deal with the process involved in building multilingual corpora, including the initial stage of planning, data collection, data transcription and analysis.  It will draw on our experience at Bangor building Welsh-English, Spanish-English and Welsh-Spanish corpora.  In relation to data collection we will discuss the recruitment of participants, the method of recording (including how to minimise the effects of the Observer’s Paradox), the administering of background questionnaires, the provision of consent forms and other ethical considerations.  As for data transcription I will describe the use of CHAT for the representation of multilingual data and will discuss the issue of language marking as well as common problems that arise in transcription.  We will also discuss both manual and automatic glossing and translation of the data. Regarding data analysis we will discuss both the use of CLAN for automatic analysis and other qualitative and quantitative approaches.

17-19 June 2013Workshop on multilingualism and interaction, invited speaker: Prof. Lorenza Mondada, Basel University
20-22 June 2013Multilingualism Week, a public outreach event

Enquiries can be sent to:

Public Events

11 January 2013 at 3pm
Added-value of multilingualism: 'A social psychological perspective'
Professor Itesh Sachdev

22 January 2012 at 3pm 

Can the internet wake up dormant bilinguals?
Prof. Anne Pauwels

27 February 2013 at 3pm

Handling more than one language: Why gestures are relevant to second language acquisition
Prof. Marianne Gullberg, Lund University

24 April 2013 at 3pm

Spanish-Welsh Bilingualism in Patagonia
Prof. Margaret Deuchar, Bangor University

21 June 2013, at 3pm

Multilingualism at work: Multilingual practices in professional settings
Prof. Lorenza Mondada, University of Basel

Previous Events in this series

Multilingualism Workshop

Multilingualism Week (17th- 22nd June 2013) is to celebrate and promote multilingualism. The outreach event is organised by students participating in the AHRC-funded scheme entitled Skills Development for Language Research and Teaching in a Multilingual World. Students from SOAS, the University of Lund, and Bangor University have taken part in training activities and placements and are now launching a series of outreach events on the 20 June.

20 June 2013, Russell Square: College Buildings, 4421, 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM