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Staff Research Projects

Bilingualism and multilingualism, including bilingual education

Bilingual Artists: Duality, Mediation and Identity

  • Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros has been awarded a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford next year to carry out an interdisciplinary project on Bilingual Artists: Duality, Mediation and Identity. The project draws upon Linguistics and Art History; it aims to assess the role of bilingualism in the life of various major artists (such as El Greco, Rubens, van Gogh, Picasso, Duchamp) and, conversely, the impact of being an artist on their bilingualism. While the importance of biculturalism has often been recognised (e.g. in Rubens), the linguistic underpinnings of this biculturalism have so far not been much investigated. Bilingualism is, in fact, fundamental to their role as cultural mediators; it sheds light on the background against which their works were produced and their intended audience (sometimes also bilingual).
  • Within Linguistics, the study of bilingualism has consistently gained prominence. It is increasingly clear that languages are associated with the bilingual.s experience in complementary ways and are used for different types of expression. For visual artists, the limitations of language . or particular languages . to express their meanings fully might cause particular frustration.
  • The project will rely on written material left by the artists themselves or by others which throws light on the impact of bilingualism on their life and work.

The relationship between multilingualism and personality

  • Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele is working on an on-going project is the effect of psychological variables on foreign language acquisition and use (Dewaele, 2009, 2012;'ska-Ponikwia & Dewaele, 2012). A different branch of this project reverses the perspective and considers the effect of multilingualism and multiculturalism on personality traits. The first publication on this topic was Dewaele & Van Oudenhoven (2009) on 77 London teenagers, followed by Dewaele & Stavans (2012) on 193 Israelis. Two further publications issued from this project report small but significant effects of multilingualism on Cognitive Empathy (Dewaele & Li Wei, 2012) and on Tolerance of Ambiguity among 2158 mono-, bi- and multilinguals (Dewaele & Li Wei, 2013).
  • Jean-Marc is also collaborating with Dr Nancy Tracy-Ventura and a team from Southampton University on an ESRC-funded project, 'Social networks, target language interaction, and second language acquisition during the year abroad: A longitudinal study'. They are looking whether the year abroad affects students personality profiles.

Code-switching and personality

  • Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele is leading this project which looks at intra-individual variation (linked to the type of interlocutor) and inter-individual variation (linked to personality traits, multilingualism and sociobiographical variables) in self-reported frequency of code-switching among 2116 multilinguals (Dewaele & Li Wei, submitted). A second study with the same dataset has focused on variation (personality traits, multilingualism and sociobiographical variables) in the attitudes that monolinguals and multilinguals have towards code-switching (Dewaele & Li Wei, to appear).

Multilingualism in psychotherapy

Emotions and multilingualism

  • This is a project that Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele has been pursuing since 2002 (Dewaele & Pavlenko, 2002). It focuses on how emotions are expressed in multilinguals various languages, an overview of the research is presented in Dewaele (2010). Emotions have included anger (Dewaele, 2006), swearing (2004, 2010, 2011) and love (2008), using an online questionnaire (Dewaele and Pavlenko, 2001-2003) resulting in a database with 1569 participants. A second revised paperback edition of my book Emotions in multiple languages is coming out in October 2013.
  • A different strand of this project involves multilinguals. perceptions of feeling different when switching languages (Dewaele & Nakano, 2012).

Swearing in English L1 and LX

  • Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele latest project focuses on swearing using data collected via an online questionnaire from 2311 English L1 users and foreign language (LX) users about their swearing behaviour with specific interlocutors and particular places, and offensiveness values and frequency of use of 30 mild to strong English swearwords and phrases.
  • Language teaching and learning

Motivation in foreign language learning

  • This project started with Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele's theoretical chapter on the matter (Dewaele, 2009). He is co-authoring a paper with Ju Yiang on the development of L2 motivation of Chinese learners of English combining a traditional individual difference approach with a dynamic system theory (DST) flavour.


Multicultural London English and Multicultural Paris French

  • Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros together with Professor Jenny Cheshire of QMUL and Professor Francoise Gadet of Paris X, I was successful in obtaining a bilateral Franco-British grant for approximately £1 million over 4 years to compare developments in contemporary London English with those occurring in Paris French. The aim of this sociolinguistic project is to compare the effect of language contact on English and French, paying particular attention to patterns of variation and change as well as to the influence of varieties spoken by minority ethnic groups, including Afro-Caribbeans in the UK and French Caribbeans and Maghrebis in France.
  • New linguistic features are analysed to determine their relationship with ethnic-derived varieties and with more traditional sites of linguistic change, such as non-standard - but widely diffused or levelled - varieties of English on the one hand and, on the other, français populaire. These linguistic features are correlated with a number of sociolinguistic variables including age, gender, ethnicity, network pattern and discourse type. Particular attention is also paid to features taken over from the ethnic varieties through a process of code-switching or .crossing., as has been shown to occur by other studies carried out in London.
  • The emphasis in the second part of the project is the direct comparison of language variation and change in the two settings, having regard to the very different distribution of ethnic communities in the two cities. We will draw out more general conclusions about processes of language change in large metropolises, based on the contrasting factors pertaining in London and Paris. We will also pay particular attention to the educational and policy-related implications in each country.
  • This project constitutes the first large-scale comparison of two significant Western European settings from a sociolinguistic perspective, and it will contribute to our understanding not only of sociolinguistic processes of language change but also to social questions to do with migration, integration and their educational consequences.
  • The ESRC.s contribution to the British part of the project is £348,495.
  • For more information including relevant publications and events, see the project website at Multicultural London English / Multicultural Paris French

Language in Strasbourg 30 Years on

  • Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros holds a British Academy Small Grant (September 2011-September 2012) for £7,500, which has been used to carry out linguistic surveys in Strasbourg, France. In this context the native Alsatian Dialect ( a dialect of German) is in contact with the official language, French, giving rise to abundant code-switching.
  • Penelope studied language use in this border area between France and Germany in the early 1980s, writing various articles and a book. Language Selection and Switching in Strasbourg (OUP 1991). Thanks to this grant, an updated description of the sociolinguistic situation in Strasbourg is being prepared.

Neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics

Language and the Brain.

  • Professor Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis and Professor Marjorie Perlman Lorch's interdisciplinary research addresses questions regarding the mental construction of language from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. A major recent theme of this work is in the history of linguistic ideas focussing on nineteenth-century approaches to understanding language development, function and disorder in the context of emerging disciplines in linguistics, education, child development, anthropology, psychology, neurology, psychiatry and law.
  • There are three major strands to this work: 1) Language development in children and second language learning in adults; 2) The relation between language, thought, memory and intellect; 3) The relation between language and music. This programme of research involves international interdisciplinary collaboration and has resulted in over 100 papers in peer-reviewed, international publications.

Language development in children and second language learning in adults

  • (Professor Marjorie Perlman Lorch)
  • Nineteenth-Century Innovations in Modern Foreign Language teaching.
  • Exploring approaches to language learning and teaching in the context of growing interest in the psychological and neurological foundations of language functions in Victorian Britain. Project in collaboration with Richard Smith (Warwick) and Nicola McClelland (Nottingham) on the History of Modern Foreign Language Teaching and Learning in Great Britain. Member of Research Network funded by AHRC Grant (15 July 2012 - 14 July 2014; AH/J012475/1 / RGS105262.
  • The modern beginnings of research into developmental language disorders
  • Project with Paula Hellal (Birkbeck) exploring the medicalization of ideas regarding language and cognitive development in the context of Victorian Britain. The main source material for this project is drawn from the unpublished case reports of children admitted to the London hospitals, 1860-1900. We explored the little-known work by Charles Darwin on child language development on the 200th anniversary of his birth in collaboration with C.U.M. Smith (Aston).
  • The writings of Harold Rosen (1919-2009) on English Language Teaching
  • Rosen championed major innovation in language learning and teaching of English in the UK the context of rising multicultural schools in the 1960s and 1970s. Collaboration with Michael Rosen (Birkbeck) and Simon Gibbons (Kings College London) 2010-2012. Created the first comprehensive bibliography of Rosen.s published and unpublished work.

The relation between language, thought, memory and intellect

  • (Professor Marjorie Perlman Lorch)
  • Language disorder and mental capacity.
  • The creation of the syndrome of aphasia in the 1860s motivated a new characterization of the relation between language and thought and led to medico-legal questions about testamentary capacity. This work considers the configuration of civil rights for people who suffered selective language impairments. Collaboration with Stephan Jacyna, (University College London) and Stephan Casper (Clarkson University, USA) 2007-2012. The Patient.s Perspective in the History of Medicine. Funded International Workshop, the Wellcome Trust.
  • Neuroscience through Caricatures
  • Project with Lorenzo Lorrusso (Chiari, Italy) and Nick Wade (Dundee) Supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) History Fund 2010. Created a website which explored the representations of mental and physical diseases of the nervous system through Caricatures in Western Art over 2,000 years.
  • Project on Jonathan Swift, language and the brain in the man and his writings
  • Explored the representations of language and mind in the fiction and non-fiction of Jonathan Swift, his own language disability late in life and subsequent interpretations of his last illness, as well as the use of Swift's death mask and skull as evidence in nineteenth-century debates about phrenology. Collaboration with Stanley Finger (Washington, St Louis, USA).

The relation between language and music

  • (Professor Marjorie Perlman Lorch)
  • Project on Nineteenth-Century Models of Language and Music processing
  • Collaboration with Julene Johnson (San Francisco), Amy Graziano (San Francisco) and Serge Nicolas (Paris) 2011-2013. Historical archive and translation project focused on cognitive models of language and music processing by Jean-Martin Charcot and his role in the nineteenth-century study of music aphasia.
  • Project on seventeenth-century concepts of innate musical ability
  • Collaboration with David Cram (Oxford) on the seventeenth-century convergence of ideas regarding music and religious configurations of the mind and brain during the British Civil War, 2006-2011. Supported by the Mansell Bequest, Royal Society of Medicine and the European Brain and Music Consortium Training Network.

Intercultural communication

Developing leadership skills, global citizenship and intercultural communicative competence among young people

  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership Technology Strategy Board / Raleigh International: Dr Z Hua and Professor S Jackson (1 January 2009-1 February 2011).

Developing cross-cultural competence in young children

  • (Professor Zhu Hua) KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership, award no. KTP/ESRC 000505) grant, funded by ESRC/DTI in partnership with CISV (£125,000) (2004-7).

Language acquisition, including first, second and additional, bilingual and multilingual language acquisition

Study abroad and second language acquisition

  • This multi-partner project with Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele focuses on the effects of study abroad on second language acquisition. More specifically, we have looked at L2 pragmatics (Beckwith & Dewaele, 2012), L2 sociolinguistics and affective variables. A first study has been submitted (Dewaele, Comanaru & Faraco) entitled 'The affective benefits of a pre-sessional course at the start of study abroad'.

Foreign language anxiety

  • Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele is leading this project on FLA which started some years ago. FLA has been linked with Trait Emotional Intelligence (Dewaele, Petrides & Furnham, 2008), multilingualism and affordances (Dewaele, 2007; 2010), extraversion, psychoticism and neuroticism (Dewaele, 2013), Second Language Tolerance of Ambiguity (Dewaele & Tsui Shan Ip, 2013).

Language Development and disorders from a cross-linguistic and multilingual perspective

The changing nature of Chinese phonological awareness

  • Professor Zhu Hua is leading this project funded by the British Academy (£7,482) (2006-8).

Translation and translanguaging: Investigating linguistic and cultural transformations in super-diverse wards in four UK cities

  • (Professor Zhu Hua)Funded by AHRC large grant. (A collaboration between four UK universities, led by the MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism at the University of Birmingham. The interdisciplinary research programme will develop new understandings of multilingual interaction in cities in the UK, and communicate these to policy-makers and communities locally, nationally, and internationally. The award is £1,973,527) (2014-18).

Deaf Studies

  • (Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis) .Deaf Children Developing Sign. (funded by the Leverhulme Trust)
  • Using an extensive corpus of sign language data, this project (jointly undertaken with Prof Jim Kyle and Jennifer Ackerman) at the University of Bristol investigated the acquisition of semantic and pragmatic aspects of British Sign Language (BSL) by deaf and hearing children born to Deaf signing parents, comparing BSL acquisition with spoken language development.
  • Technology Initiative for the Disabled and Elderly (TIDE). (funded by the EU)
  • This research and development project involved trialling interactive software for analytic and global training of communicative skills in sign language. (Project lead, Prof Jim Kyle, University of Bristol).
  • Forum: Deaf Studies on the Agenda. (funded by the European Social Fund)
  • This project established a network of training across twelve European partners in nine countries in academic, occupational and vocational qualifications. As Acting Director (at the University of Bristol) I helped to establish distributed, distance and on-site training.
  • A Lexical Comparison of Danish and Icelandic Sign Language. (with Russell Aldersson)
  • Before 1867 deaf children born in Iceland were sent to Denmark to be educated.this practice, together with the strong cultural, historical, and political ties between the countries and the close association between the Deaf communities, suggested pronounced linguistic contact and perhaps a high degree of linguistic similarity. We undertook an empirical investigation of lexical similarity between the Danish and Icelandic sign languages and demonstrated a high degree of lexical similarity between the languages.

Professional and workplace communication

Language Planning and Policy

  • (Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis) The on-going problems posed by multilingualism at the UN and the nature of interlingualism, particularly the strength of micro-language planning on language policy and practice in an agency of the UN have been investigated in McEntee-Atalianis (2006) and forthcoming in Jessner & Kramsch (eds).

Diplomatic Language

  • As part of a long-term investigation of language use by delegates in an agency of the United Nations Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis has explored the structure of diplomatic interventions to plenary and the construction of expert status (McEntee-Atalianis 2008, 2010).

Metaphor and Identity

  • In recent work Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis has explored the role of metaphor in constructing and reconfiguring organisational identity; most recently combining a consideration of metaphor with theories of stance. (See McEntee-Atalianis 2011, 2013).
  • Lisa is currently writing an advanced introductory book for Continuum (London/New York) which will serve as an introduction and exploration of key debates and seminal work in the study of language and identity, incorporating a systematic consideration of disparate theoretical/analytical frameworks including historical and more recent objects of research foci.


Greek Migrants Abroad: Identity, Language and Loyalties

  • Led by Professor Gardner-Chloros, funding is currently being sought for this project (with Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis), which aims to gain a clear understanding of the impact of current movements on Greek identity abroad and to raise awareness/provide tools to support ethnolinguistic vitality in these new communities. One consequence of the economic instability in Greece is the 'brain drain' to other countries. In 2011-12, the number of Greeks moving just to other EU countries increased by 170% compared with 2007-08. This exodus concerns Greece's brightest and best educated young people and will impact negatively on Greece's recovery well into the future if the new emigrants establish themselves without means and motivation to maintain their language, culture and ties with the homeland.

Duelling Languages, duelling values

Translation and translanguaging: Investigating linguistic and cultural transformations in super-diverse wards in four UK cities.

  • Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK (£1,973,527, 2014-18. AH/L007096/1) with colleagues in Birmingham, Cardiff and Leeds. Co-investigators: Professor Li Wei and Zhu Hua (Birkbeck).
  • A team ethnographic project looking at creative multilingual language practices in sports, business, museums and galleries, and socio-legal settings in London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Cardiff.

Ethnolinguistic Vitality and Attitude Research

  • (Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis) Projects have been undertaken in majority and minority Greek-speaking communities in Cyprus, Turkey and the UK investigating ethnolinguistic vitality and attitudes towards English and the national languages (Greek/Turkish/English). Issues of community identity have also been explored. See the following publications (listed on my website): McEntee-Atalianis (with Pouloukos, 2001, 2005), McEntee-Atalianis (2004), McEntee-Atalianis (with Gardner-Chloros & Finnis, 2005), & McEntee-Atalianis (with Koumondouros, 2007).
  • Lisa has also explored the value of adopting multiple approaches and methodologies in the exploration of ethnolinguistic vitality (see McEntee-Atalianis, 2011).