As the UK faces a languages crisis, with numbers dropping up to 50% in take-up of GCSE Modern Languages since 2003 and a £48bn deficit in the UK economy due to a shortage of linguists, join languages teacher and entrepreneur Cate Hamilton as she talks to scientists, linguists, wordsmiths, and other interested guests about why being multilingual is (and always has been) normal, and why linguistics matters now more than ever. Let's talk about talking!
Episode 25: What was language learning like 400 years ago?
What would language learning YouTube have been like in 1580? Was Queen Elizabeth I really a polyglot? Who was teaching and learning languages in 1600s London? Early Modern historian John Gallagher and Cate talk about what it was like learning languages in England at a time when English was a marginal language that was not very useful past Dover. Have English tourists always been terrible at learning languages or is that a more recent stereotype? Did young men learn how to order 'two beers' before their Grand Tour?
Episode 24: Speak standard English!
There’s regularly talk of ‘correct’ or ‘standard’ language in the media and on Twitter. Some people apparently wear their bad grammar like a badge of honour or refuse to learn the 'correct' way of speaking because, the critics say, it makes them look cooler or ‘down with the kids’. And don’t even ask about glottal stops! In the second part of our discussion, Ian Cushing and I look at what 'standard English' is, and why we should question policies that insist upon it being spoken (in full sentences) at all times. And why does grammar get people heckling each other? Read the blog on www.thelanguagerevolution.co.uk to find the links mentioned.
Episode 23: Grammar... friend or foe?
Let's talk about the G-word: grammar. It’s a bit of a Marmite subject. People seem to love it or hate it, and for some it is a trigger word. There is often a conflation of linguistics with the ‘naming of parts’ and subjects, verbs and objects. Grammar can be a real bone of contention in education too, and even cause ripples in politics. To untangle the issue of grammar teaching in school, I spoke to Dr Ian Cushing from Brunel University in London about where we are now with grammar education, and where we might want to aim for next.
Episode 22: Speech and language therapy.
We don't often understand the process of learning to talk until we need speech and language therapy. It’s something parents have little information about. We hear a lot about sleeping, eating, and walking, but talking is a bit of a mystery subject. That is, until it goes wrong. Parents might then seek advice from a speech and language therapist like my podcast guest, Weronika Ozpolat. And if your child has more than one language? It's good to find a speech pathologist who understands how bilingualism works, and how different cultures teach children to speak in different ways. Read the accompanying blog at www.thelanguagerevolution.co.uk.
Episode 21: EAL – where to start?
The term 'EAL' gets more airtime in educational circles these days because our world is becoming more super diverse. This means that our schools have more children who are learning English. But does 'EAL', which is short for 'English as an Additional Language', simply mean a child doesn't speak English yet? Actually, it is much more nuanced and complicated than that. In the second part of my conversation with EAL specialist Eowyn Crisfield, we talk about how parents and schools can work together to support multilingual learners. Read the blog with links here. Keywords: home languages, translanguaging, multilingual learners, teacher training.
Episode 20: How can we navigate bilingual education?
There's a wealth of information on the Internet about bilingual education and raising bilingual kids. But for parents or teachers navigating their way through an online search, it often feels overwhelming. Facts can get taken out of context, and statistics from research are quoted as if they are set in stone. However, the science of bilingualism is relatively young and ever-evolving. In Episode 20 I talk to Eowyn Crisfield in detail about what parents need to know in order to steer their family through the rocky waters of bilingual education. This is part one of a two-part series. Part two looks at EAL education in schools, so this episode is a good foundation for teachers too.
Thank you for these timely and important discussions!
Great variety of guests and really interesting to explore the topic of talking, which we take for granted, from different angles. Highly recommend.