Notes and pictures from Malta and the International Conference on Bilingualism

by | Mar 25, 2015 | Blogging, Language and bilingualism | 1 comment

Notes and pictures from Malta and the International Conference on Bilingualism
Merħba! (‘welcome’ in Maltese) I am currently in Malta an enjoying myself immensely on so many levels – it is my first trip to this gorgeous island with its jovial, friendly people (and slightly nutty drivers), and I am also attending the International Conference on Bilingualism arranged by the University of Malta.

The first two days of the conference have been packed with highly interesting, thought-provoking and inspirational presentations and I am eagerly looking forward to the last day. I will need some time to digest all the information, so today’s post contains only pictures and some of the notes I made during the first few days. (These are not necessarily direct quotes from the speakers.) I will get back to these topics later. International Conference on Bilingualism

What is language? Languages are described in grammars and dictionaries and these descriptions are constructions which are in a state of suspended animation. Language use is always in flux.
– H.G.Widdowson

View over Fungus (!) Rock from Dwejra Point

View over Fungus (!) Rock from Dwejra Point on Gozo.

Foreign language teaching should focus on the use of language in the communicative process, not on the ability to use a specific linguistic code, which is arbitrary and ever changing.
– H.G.Widdowson

Marsamxett Harbour

Marsamxett Harbour


Code-switching is infinitely more than just throwing in a word from your other language. It can serve to bring emphasis, define the speaker’s identity, be conspiratory or even be used to exercise powers and is usually an attempt to have an effect on the listener.
– Penelope Gardner Chloros

Bilingualism does not prevent you from getting Alzheimer’s (but should a bilingual person get Alzheimer’s he or she is likely to be able to function well a few years longer than a monolingual sufferer).
– Antonella Sorace

St John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta

St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta

Bilingualism increases the brain plasticity across the lifespan, not just for children and young learners.
– Antonella Sorace

The hauntingly beautiful L-Imdina

The hauntingly beautiful L-Imdina

Bilinguals are better than monolinguals at screening out speech interferences. The more proficient a bilingual people are at their languages, the more efficiently they can ignore irrelevant noise, e.g. in a cafeteria setting.
– Roberto Filippi


Which of the above quotes did you find most intriguing? Let me know what you would like to read more about!

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1 Comment

  1. Karolina

    The code switching quote is fascinating to me. I’ll have to pay attention next time to see if I can determine why I’m doing it 🙂

    As for noise interference, this has not been my experience AT ALL. I’m trilingual and dabble in other languages for fun. However, I cannot carry a conversation with the tv on, for instance. Perhaps this is related to my misophonia…



  1. Code-switching vs language mixing - […] this year, during the International Conference on Bilingualism in Malta, I had the opportunity to listen to one of the…

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