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