New MLM paper: ‘Urban Multilingualism and the Civic University: A Dynamic, Non-Linear Model of Participatory Research’

A new MLM paper, titled ‘Urban Multilingualism and the Civic University: A Dynamic, Non-Linear Model of Participatory Research’, will appear in the journal Social Inclusion.

Drawing on the example of Multilingual Manchester, the paper shows how a university research unit can support work toward a more inclusive society by raising awareness of language diversity and thereby helping to facilitate access to services, raise confidence among disadvantaged groups, sensitise young people to the challenges of diversity, and remove barriers. The setting (Manchester, UK) is one in which globalisation and increased mobility have created a diverse civic community; where austerity measures in the wake of the financial crisis a decade ago continue to put pressure on public services affecting the most vulnerable population sectors; and where higher education is embracing a neo-liberal agenda with growing emphasis on the economisation of research, commodification of teaching, and a need to demonstrate a ‘return on investment’ to clients and sponsors. Unexpectedly, perhaps, this environment creates favourable conditions for a model of participatory research that involves co-production with students and local stakeholders and seeks to shape public discourses around language diversity as a way of promoting values and strategies of inclusion.

The paper is available to read here: http://mlm.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Matras-and-Robertson-2017.pdf

MLM research finds that children’s first names in Manchester mirror diversity of city

Girls in Manchester are more likely than boys to have ‘unique’ names, and the names given to children are likely to reflect parents’ home languages and cultures, according to a new study carried out by Multilingual Manchester.

Amy Portwood asked 120 local mothers about the names given to their children born between 2010- 2015 (now aged between two and six). She identified 160 names, almost two thirds of which did not appear on the Office for National Statistics’ list of top 100 names for the year in which the child was born. They were therefore classified as ‘unique’.

The names of Manchester children reflect the city’s language and cultural diversity. Mothers who speak a language other than English in the home are more likely to give their children a ‘unique’ name. Of the children surveyed, 42.5% had mothers who stated a language other than English was spoken in the home, and of those 83% had a ‘unique’ name.

Sixteen languages other than English were identified as home languages, with Urdu and Arabic being the most common. With few exceptions, children whose families spoke another language in the home had a name that derived from that language. Among children from Arabic speaking households, almost 90% had Arabic names. This suggests that naming is an important way for parents to maintain their cultural heritage.

More information on the study is available here: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/first-names-diversity/

Amy’s full report is available here: http://mlm.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Amy-Portwood-Parental-Naming.pdf

Levenshulme Language Day 2017

Join us for a free family-friendly day of activities to celebrate Manchester’s many languages and cultures!

Levenshulme Language Day 2017 will take place at The Klondyke Club, Arcadia Library and Levenshulme Market. Activities include language taster sessions, stalls, performances, crafts and games for children, world music, international food, and more.

For more information or to get involved, please contact mlm@manchester.ac.uk and see flyers below for further details.

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New MLM report: ‘Brexit: A risk assessment for language provision in Manchester’

Research by Multilingual Manchester has found that leaving the European Union may reduce levels of support for the teaching of English as an additional language, due to the withdrawal of EU funding.

The new report, compiled by Dr Amelia Abercrombie through a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council, finds that provisions such as English classes for new arrivals are likely to be at direct risk. Others, such as interpretation for access to key services, may be in danger if current EU legislation and recommendations are not maintained.

The report also expresses concern that the public discourse surrounding Brexit may disadvantage provisions for language learning and language skills, which could have a negative effect on Britain’s global outreach.

More information is available here: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/brexit-language-support/

The full report is available to read here: http://mlm.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Brexit-and-language-provision.pdf