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Languages, Society & Policy


Journal launched to link modern languages with the heart of policy-making and debate

A new on-line journal, Languages, Society & Policy, aimed at bringing academic research on languages to a wider audience, including  policy-makers, has been launched as part of a major Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project on Modern Languages.

The journal, edited by the Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS) team, publishes articles on a wide range of subjects such as linguistics, modern languages, cultural studies and neuroscience, with a focus on making them accessible to a wide audience and on addressing policy challenges with evidence-based research.

Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett, who is based the University of Cambridge and part of the editorial board for the journal, said: “MEITS seeks to show how the insights gained from stepping outside a single language, culture and mode of thought are increasingly vital to key issues facing the UK today. We trust that our new journal will promote policy engagement and that it will become the go-to resource for high-calibre research on languages for non-academic interest groups.”

Seven articles were published in the first issue launched this summer; content includes:

  • An exploration of the concept of a ‘healthy linguistic diet’, which advances the idea that regular and varied language learning may have cognitive benefits across the lifespan.
  • New policy suggestions on how we can effectively support language learning in schools by concentrating on the enthusiasm of younger learners and addressing consistency in teaching in the move from primary to secondary school.
  • An examination of the social variation in English in the curriculum which sensitises students to conscious or unconscious language-based discrimination.
  • Looking at ways of getting to grips with the experience of school pupils with a home language other than English and the importance of encouraging literacy in and qualifications in home languages as a support for English-language literacy.
  • A detailed examination of language provision in multilingual cities through the lens of Manchester’s linguistic diversity.

The Languages, Society and Policy journal will publish four distinct types of papers:

  • Policy Papers will provide policy recommendations based on specific pieces of research.
  • Papers in the From the Research Lab section explain linguistic research to non-specialist audiences and describe exciting new findings which support public understanding of language and linguistics research.
  • In Opinion articles linguists and stakeholders have the opportunity to comment on current issues relating to languages and linguistics research.
  • Dialogues will provide an opportunity for academics to write about their distinct on topics for public debate.

Languages, Society and Policy is designed as a publication that will provide an opportunity for high-calibre research on languages to be accessible to the public and will help and shape policy and the big public debate on topics related to languages, linguistics and culture.

The Dialogues section of Languages, Society and Policy will be launched in the autumn and will include papers by Baroness Jean Coussins, Co-Chair of the APPG on Modern Languages, and Professor Nigel Vincent, who has for many years led on language issues at the British Academy.

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