Reasons for learning a language

Why Languages Matter!

(Funded by ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Festival of Social Science)

Multilingualism throughout the Sheffield City Region

Sheffield is a vibrant multilingual city, in which over 120 languages are spoken in our varied communities. These range from languages used in the home or learnt at school, to those spoken by the many visitors who are welcomed here for work or study. This project brings together the voices of Sheffield people in a display showing ‘Why languages matter!’ 

It is intended that this project will be developed by FIPLV members around the world so that we can obtain a rich picture of why languages matter in other countries.

‘Why languages matter!’ featured in The Guardian: Highlights from the British Academy’s Language Festival

Why study languages?

If you are able to access Facebook, you will find a wealth of resources making a case for languages learning here:

https://www.facebook.com/whystudylanguages

Growing your brain with languages

This was published in Scientific American in April 2013:

Learning a new language can grow one’s perspective. Now scientists find that learning languages grows parts of the brain.

Scientists studied the brains of students in the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy, who are required to learn new languages at an alarmingly fast rate. Many must become fluent in Arabic, Russian and the Persian dialect Dari in just 13 months. The researchers compared the brains of these students to the brains of medical students who also have to learn a tremendous amount in a very short period of time, but without the focus on languages.

The brains of the language learners exhibited significant new growth in the hippocampus and in parts of the cerebral cortex. The medical students’ brains showed no observed growth.

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