Experts call for better language provision to help non-English speakers into work

Experts from The University of Manchester have called for better language provisions to help non-English speakers into the workplace, after their research found that language proficiency is the most common barrier to employment for newcomers to the city.

An estimated 1,000 people are on waiting lists to access ESOL (English as Second or Other Language) courses in Manchester, while providers are struggling to find funding to maintain classes.The University’s Multilingual Manchester research unit has worked with Manchester City Council to review its provisions for people coming to the region who do not speak English as their first language.

Interpreting and Translation Studies lecturer Dr Rebecca Tipton, Research Associate Dr Huw Vasey and a team of student assistants surveyed advanced learners of English to find out about their needs and aspirations, and to identify ways to improve provisions.

Manchester Museum embraces the city’s language diversity

Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester is undergoing a £13 million transformation, to become the country’s most inclusive, caring and imaginative museum. The development, hello future, is being launched on 2 October, when work will begin to create new galleries devoted to South Asia and to Chinese Culture, the world’s first Centre for Age Friendly Culture, a new exhibition hall, new entrance facing Oxford Road, and improved visitor facilities with a focus on 
inclusive and accessible design.

The Museum’s new emphasis on inclusivity will feature a multilingual design, created in collaboration with the Multilingual Manchester research unit at the University of Manchester. Hello future campaign has already been translated into 50 of the city’s languages, and Manchester Museum are preparing new and creative solutions for multilingual exhibition signage, multilingual museum tours and workshops that will make Manchester Museum the country’s first major cultural institution to embrace language diversity.

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum said: “Manchester is a city of languages, and Manchester Museum is the city’s museum. Part of our mission is to be one of the world’s most inclusive museums. We are embracing the city’s language diversity, aiming to be the country’s first multilingual museum, and we are excited to be working with Multilingual Manchester to achieve this.”

Professor Yaron Matras, who leads the Multilingual Manchester research unit, said: “Manchester’s language diversity has become one of its emblems. In reaching out to the city’s many language communities, Manchester Museum is setting a new standard for inclusivity. As researchers and students we are proud to be a part of this transformation programme, which will be of enormous benefit to the city’s culture and creative industries.”

To help shape the campaign further Manchester Museum and Multilingual Manchester are encouraging people to comment on and share their thoughts on the hello future translations using #MMhellofuture

New student reports now online

Visit our Reports archive to read the latest MLM student reports! The reports focus on various aspects of Manchester’s multilingualism, including:
–  a study on the effect of Brexit debates on language learning choices, in which participants suggested that Brexit makes language learning more important yet discourages students from studying languages;
– research on motivations to study foreign languages at Higher Education level;
– a study on experiences of using translation and interpreting in accessing public services, which reports that clients are generally satisfied with the services provided, yet often prefer using informal interpreters (e.g. family members or friends).

You can read the new reports in full here.

Continuing our efforts to amend census question on language

Last month we met with officials at the Office for National Statistics to make suggestions for improvement of the question on languages ahead of the 2021 Census. But the officials are reluctant to act, and it seems that to get results, researchers will have to engage more widely to promote a general vision of a linguistically diverse society. Read more here, and see earlier documentation here.

Call for papers: University Public Engagement with Urban Multilingualism

Abstracts are invited for an event on ‘University Public Engagement with Urban Multilingualism’, which will take place on 20-22 February 2019 at the University of Manchester.

The three-day event will offer an opportunity for an exchange of ideas and experience among university projects that actively combine research on urban multilingualism with an outreach and public engagement agenda. It will be hosted by the Multilingual Manchester research unit ( Confirmed contributors will represent projects based in a variety of universities around the world including Moscow, St Petersburg, Berlin, Edinburgh, London, Sheffield, Melbourne, Sydney, Luxembourg, and Graz.

We are seeking additional expressions of interest along with abstracts to arrive by 31 August 2018, for short contributions to panel discussions (NOT full research papers!) that will address — specifically — the following themes:

– City-level planning and practice around language diversity, and the involvement of university researchers in such practice
– University public engagement around language diversity
– Innovative research models and research tools, teaching practices, and co-production models

Please see the full call for papers here:

Manchester’s linguistic landscapes/ Sprache im öffentlichen Raum

Am 12 Juni 2018 hielten Leonie Gaiser und Yaron Matras einen Vortrag über die ‘Sprachlandschaften’ (Sprache im öffentlichen Raum) von Manchester im Rahmen einer Vorlesung über Mehrsprachigkeit unter der Leitung von Prof. Dr. Jannis Androutsopoulos an der Universität Hamburg. Eine Aufzeichnung des Vortrages ist hier zugänglich.

A video recording of a lecture (in German) by Leonie Gaiser and Yaron Matras on Manchester’s linguistic landscapes at the University of Hamburg can be accessed here; you can also read our report (in English!) about Manchester’s linguistic landscapes.