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AHRC unveils Power of Languages booklet

Date: 21/02/2019

On International Mother Language day 2019 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has unveiled a new publication, which gives the reader a glimpse of the research going on in the AHRC’s Open Word Research Initiative (OWRI).

The Power of Languages’ includes features on the many transformative dimensions of language learning and linguistic diversity; from health – where learning a language can delay the onset of dementia – to community cohesion – where support for community languages is vital for social cohesion – and the economy – in which vibrant linguistic diversity in theatre, music, comedy and visual arts is contributing to a boom in the creative industries. 

OWRI is a major research programme involving collaboration between 17 UK universities and over 75 non-academic partners across the globe. The ultimate aim of OWRI is to reinvigorate research in modern languages and to demonstrate the continuing value of languages and their important contribution to society in areas such as cultural understanding, health and wellbeing, trade and education.

It also examines how and why we learn languages as well the dynamics of different language communities within the UK and around the world.  The section on ‘How Languages Changed My Life’ includes perspectives from public figures – including a politician, a news reporter, and a football commentator – reflecting on how learning a language has changed the course of their lives and careers.

Professor Janice Carruthers, AHRC Modern Languages Leadership Fellow, said: "This new publication brings to life the innovative research that is going on across the Open World Research Initiative.  Written for a broad audience, it highlights multiple dimensions of the OWRI projects, including their interdisciplinary collaborations and their extensive work with partners outside universities. I would encourage everyone to read ‘The Power of Languages’ and learn more about how central languages are to so many areas of our lives".

International Mother Language Day, now in its 19th year, promotes linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. According to UNESCO: ‘Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and the planet….All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.’

Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact:

Joe Lewis, Press and Social Media Officer at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, on 01793 416021 or mailto:joseph.lewis@ahrc.ukri.org

The Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: archaeology, area studies, the creative and performing arts, design, digital content, heritage, history, languages, philosophy and much more. This financial year we will spend approximately £98 million on research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides economic, social and cultural benefits to the UK, but contributes to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

The AHRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body that works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

You can find out more information via ahrc.ukri.org or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at @artsandhumanitiesresearchcouncil, or Instagram at @ahrcpress.


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