February 22, 2017

Online Resources on Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Multilingualism is the use of two or more languages, either by an individual or by a community. There are more people who speak more than one language (multilingual speakers) than there are people who only speak one language (monolingual speakers) in the world.  More than half of all Europeans speak at least two languages.  Speaking two languages is called bilingualism.  Globalisation is making multilingualism more important in today’s world.  Bilingualism and multilingualism are important topics for research and teaching.  Raising bilingual or multilingual children is also an important experience for parents in a bilingual couple.  They may need guidance on how best to go about raising bi- or multilingual children.

A lot of information, for researchers, teachers and parents, is available on the internet.  This blog post gives a list of websites on bilingualism and multilingualism for parents, teachers and researchers and gives an idea of what can be found on each website. A lot of resources can also be found on the Blogging on Bilingualism website, which has a list of blogs on the topic and summarises and evaluates each one.

on bilingualism--ONLINE RESOURCESES

Resources for Parents

Multilingual Parenting

Multilingual Parenting has a blog with tips on how to raise bilingual children, such as “12 things parents raising bilingual children need to know”.  Here are more blogs on the same.

Bilingual Parenting

Bilingual Parenting is a blog that documents a couple’s progress in raising a bilingual child and includes tips, materials and a bookshop.

Bilingualism Matters

Bilingualism Matters is a Centre at the University of Edinburgh, which studies bilingualism and language learning.  Their vision is a society where everyone is aware of and has access to the benefits of multiple languages.  The Centre’s website has news, events and a blog.  It also has a list of resources for Bilingual Families and FAQs.

The Bilingual Advantage

The Bilingual Advantage is a site run by a bilingual researcher, teacher and parent.  It includes resources on bilingualism and blog articles by two bilingual parents.  It has a list of Tips for Bilingual Parents.  The website is available in English and French.

Words for Life

The Words for Life website, which is designed to support parents to help their children develop their language skills, has a list of frequently asked questions about raising bilingual children.


The online encyclopaedia of writing systems and languages, Omniglot, has several pages dedicated to the issue of raising bilingual children: “Raising Bilingual Children: The First Five Steps to Success”; “Raising Bilingual Children: Fact or Fiction?”; “Raising Bilingual Children: The Snags”; “Raising Bilingual Children: The Different Methods to Success”.  They are written by the founder of the Multilingual Children’s Association.

Multilingual Children’s Association

The Multilingual Children’s Association (USA) has a web guide to raising multilingual children. The site is dedicated to kids growing up with multiple languages.  It features expert advice and real world wisdom, parent discussions, tips, resource directory, articles and more.  It hosts a community where parents can ask questions and share thoughts, tips and support.

Bilingual Monkeys

Bilingual Monkeys is a site dedicated to giving ideas and inspiration for raising bilingual kids (without going bananas!).  Its creator has written several books on the subject.  The site includes a list of tips for raising bilingual children.

InCulture Parent

InCulture Parent is a collection of personal experience blogs by parents who are committed to ‘raising global citizens’.  The site includes tips on bilingual parenting.

Bilingual Potential

Bilingual Potential is a consultancy that offers advice to parents on raising bilingual children.

Bilingual Kids Rock

Bilingual Kids Rock celebrates raising bilingual children and includes advice and tips.

General Advice

There is also a lot of general advice out there, such as this article on Quartz, this from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, this from the Linguistic Society of America, this from and this in the Huffington Post.

Resources for Teachers

Bilingualism Matters

Bilingualism Matters has a list of resources on English as an Additional Language and ESOL, Modern language teaching: resources and policy and Minority and regional languages in Europe.

Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute

The Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute of Canada strengthens and promotes education and research in the fields of teaching, evaluation and language policy design. It also brings together the University of Ottawa’s experts in official languages and bilingualism in four areas: teaching; research; testing and evaluation and development and promotion.  Its website has a host of resources and information on assessment and development in language learning.

Resources for Researchers

Multilingual Matters

Multilingual Matters is an international, independent publishing house based in Bristol.  It produces publications on bilingualism, second/foreign language learning and sociolinguistics.  BLS previously interviewed Multilingual Matters on our blog.  Read the interview here.

Creative Multilingualism

Creative Multilingualism is a research programme investigating the connection between linguistic diversity and creativity.  It stems from the idea that there is more to languages than the practical. They are also our key medium for self-expression and are at the heart of our identities.  Its website includes resources and events.

Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)

The CeLM aims to generate new insights into the working of the multilingual mind as well as new perspectives on how literacy skills work in monolinguals, bilinguals and multilinguals.  It carries out state-of-the-art empirical research in Education, Linguistics, Modern Languages, Neuroscience and Psychology.  Its website has resources such as Literacy in Monolingual families and Learning modern foreign languages in the UK.  There is also a list of conferences and events.  CeLM @ University of Reading is the host of a new branch of Bilingualism Matters. Bilingualism Matters provides advice and information on child bilingualism to anyone interested or involved with raising, educating and caring for bilingual and multilingual children. It also bridges the gap between researchers and society by presenting recent findings on the advantages of bilingualism on the cognitive and social abilities of the child.

Centre for Research on Bilingualism

Bilingualism and second language acquisition is one of the leading research areas at Stockholm University. Research at the Centre for Research on Bilingualism covers a number offers a wide variety of introductory and advanced courses as well as a full PhD program.

Bilingualism Centre

Located in the bilingual area of North Wales, the Bilingualism Centre at Bangor University focuses on Welsh-English bilinguals as well as offering a springboard into other bilingual communities.  The website has information on events, postgraduate study programmes, collaboration opportunities and resources.

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition is an international peer-reviewed journal focusing on bilingualism from a linguistic, psycholinguistic, and neuroscientific perspective. The aims of the journal are to promote research on the bilingual and multilingual person and to encourage debate in the field.

We hope you find these resources useful, whichever category you use!

Written by Suzannah Young

February 15, 2017

Travelling Corner: My 5 Best of Prague

my prague

Prague, my dear Prague… I always experience a whole load of feelings here: from laughter, disgust, admiration, astonishment or surprise; it’s true, you can be amazed and rationally challenged everywhere. Example one: When I arrived in Prague, I wanted to buy a weekly ticket for public transport. The middle-aged saleswoman was switching between several languages so easily (those I could hear were Czech, Russian, English & German) and managing to answer some very difficult questions without any hesitation (!). Example two: I stayed in a relatively old building which surprisingly had a super-modern lift with touch-screen buttons and glass walls, but the lift stopped between floors so you still had to walk up some stairs (?). Example three: You can find bars where your chosen meal options will be charged by weight (tip: choose lighter dishes to pay less!). Example four: As the Czech Republic is a small country, there are certain customs based on trust, e.g. there are no tube barriers in Prague, but obviously, you’re still obliged to buy your commuting tickets! Example five: We visited Prague in December. The city was beautifully decorated and some squares (including the main square) had nativity scenes, but with real animals, e.g. sheep, goats and a pony.


Personally, I love those paradoxes, but now let’s move to my 5 best of Prague.

Josefov & Španělská synagoga

Josefov. The Old Jewish Quarter. I’m in love with this part of Prague. It’s magical, charismatic and has amazing architecture.  It’s a perfect location for wondering around and admiring the beautiful buildings.

Josefov 2

If you’re in Josefov, you may want to visit the Old Jewish Cemetery and the synagogues. The Spanish Synagogue Španělská synagoga stole my heart. It isn’t so well presented form outside, but inside it has a breath-taking interior.


Theatre Stavovské divadlo

Prague has many cultural pearls: the Národní divadlo National Threatre, the Rudolfinum Concert Hall, the Klementinum Old Library, and amongst others, the Stavovské divadlo theatre situated in the Old Town. Established and working since 1783, this theatre has an impressive design, both interior and exterior and the great repertoire on offer makes it a perfect place to visit. Interestingly, the premières of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and La Clamenza di Tito took place in this very theatre where the Czech director Miloš Forman also filmed the concert scenes of his Oscar-winning film Amadeus.


Klášter sv. Anežky České

Prague has many art galleries, but I was truly amazed by the Convent of Saint Agnes Klášter sv. Anežky České, a gallery with medieval art and an impressive collection of artefacts. The gallery is located in one of the oldest Gothic buildings in Prague, the monastery of Poor Clares of the Order of Saint Clare and Franciscans which was founded in around 1231.

Public transport

I was so impressed by the public transport in Prague! It was punctual, clean and amazingly connected between train, tube, bus and tram. I bought a three-day pass and could travel with no limits for 72 hours in the city centre. If I wanted to go to the zoo, for example, I took a tube train and then a bus and the bus stop was situated just by the tube station and the whole journey was super short. Very efficient!


Svařený jablečný džus

If you go to a cafe you might be surprised by the wide offer of beverages you can have. I visited Prague in winter, so there were many hot drink options (both alcoholic and non-) to taste. I particularly enjoyed the warm apple juice with spices: pressed apple juice, ground spices & cloves; simmer all for a few minutes until hot, done!

apple juice

Have you been to Prague? What were your favourite spots? Please share in the comments below.

February 8, 2017

Learning a Language: Are Group Lessons Really for Me?

Are Group Lessons Really for Me_

When we decide we want to learn a new language, we want to find a suitable tutor or a course to guide us through our new learning journey. When is it right to have group lessons? Let me share with you some ideas.

FIRST STEP Let’s learn a new language together! We have more support when attending group lessons: e.g. from class-mates, our tutor or staff members.

ROUTINE We attend lessons regularly, so there is a routine established in our new language learning experience.

COMMUNICATION We communicate with our class-mates and learn new grammar and vocabulary, as well as learning about culture and more.

MOTIVATION If we need some support in maintaining motivation, we have many opportunities to speak and socialise while attending a group course.

TIME Group lessons are usually longer, so we have more opportunities to speak, listen, read and write in a foreign language.

FRIENDS We learn a language and we make friends, as we already share one common interest: learning a new language!

FINANCES Group lessons are usually cheaper, so we can save while studying a foreign language.

PERSONALITY Being competitive, extroverted or social may mean that we’ll be active in using the language more frequently when having group lessons.

language learning is fun.

I believe these might be the common reasons for choosing group lessons. What is your opinion or experience? When do you think we should have group lessons? Please let me know in the comments below.

February 1, 2017

Learning a Language: Is Individual Tuition Really for Me?

Is individual tuition really for me_-1

When we decide we want to learn a new language, we want to find a suitable tutor or a course to guide us through our journey of learning a foreign language. When is it right to have individual lessons? Let me share with you some ideas:

LANGUAGE SPECIFICATION You might want to learn an unusual or specific language, dialect or register, e.g. legal French or business Japanese.

GOAL You might have a specific goal, e.g. you want to sit an exam in 6 months.

TIME You might need to make progress within a time-scale, e.g. you have 3 months to learn communicative Spanish and you want to study every day at 7am.

BUSY You might have a busy work/life schedule, e.g. you only have time very early in the morning or at lunch-time.

TRAVEL You might travel frequently. Travelling may make studying difficult so it is important to plan your lessons in advance.

SELF-STUDY You might only need a little guidance, as you are studying on your own, e.g. help with pronunciation, specific grammar points or detailed questions.

PERSONALITY Being shy, introverted or individualistic may mean that you’ll be more active and you’ll use the language more frequently when having 1-to-1 lessons.

Empower Yourself

I believe these might be the common reasons for choosing individual tuition. What is your opinion or experience? When do you think we should have 1-to-1 lessons? Please let me know in the comments below.