Through the Language Prism / Trwy Brism Iaith

26-27 March, Temple of Peace, Cardiff

This two-day international symposium will bring together a wide range of people with an academic, cultural and political interest in bilingualism and multilingualism to address questions including:

  • What is language and what is bilingualism and multilingualism?
  • How do we produce language and how does the bilingual and multilingual mind process language?
  • To what extent does Wales make the most of the intellectual, social and creative potential of its bilingualism?
  • How do we unlock this potential in the face of the threat of language extinction to realise government goals of promoting a vibrant culture and achieving a million Welsh speakers by 2050?

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The event will encompass lectures, panel discussions and interactive sessions by leading international experts and cultural practitioners. The symposium has been curated by a group of leading Welsh academics in the field, led by Professor Mererid Hopwood of University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Confirmed speakers for the symposium include:

  • Lǐ Wéi, Chair of Applied Linguistics at University College London.
  • Novelist and academic Patrick McGuinness.
  • David Gramling, associate professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona.
  • Dina Mehmedbegovic-Smith, University College London.
  • Antonella Sorace, Professor of Developmental Linguistics, University of Edinburgh.

The programme for the two days will explore the following themes:

Day 1

Introduction: Through the language prism
Understanding the benefits of bi- and multilingualism.

Theme 1: Language and thought
Exploring ideas about language and its impact on identity and belonging.

Theme 2: One mind, more than one language
What do we know about the neurology of bi/multilingualism and how bi/multilingualism affects our emotions?

Theme 3: Language and translation
How the search for meaning can assist with translanguaging.

Theme 4: Language and creativity
The creative force of linguistic diversity and working across languages.

Day 2

Theme 5: Language extinction
To what extent can language planning, rights and legislation combat the threat of language extinction?

Theme 6 (part 1): Language and education
What role can education play in achieving a million Welsh speakers by 2050?

Theme 6 (part 2): Language and education
How can we motivate and enthuse younger learners in Wales to continue their multilingual language journey in schools and beyond?

Theme 7: Language and a prosperous society
What does a linguistically prosperous society look like?

Register here