Call for expressions of interest

The Multilingual Communities strand of the AHRC-OWRI consortium ‘Cross-language Dynamics: Re-shaping community’ is offering two grants at a value of up to £11,500 each (at 80%, in line with AHRC funding rules) for projects that are devoted to university engagement around support for the maintenance and promotion of heritage or community languages in the UK. The activities should broadly relate to the range of interests in research, outreach and public engagement as represented by the Multilingual Manchester research unit ( Of particular interest is work with community-based language initiatives (supplementary or complementary schools). The grants can be used to cover the cost of events, research assistants, development of materials for public engagement, including associated consumables (but not including equipment costs). The institution receiving the award is expected to cover 20% of the total activity cost, either through material contribution or through dedicated staff time. Project are expected to commence during 2018 or early 2019 and must end by late 2020, preferably earlier.

Expressions of interest, including a brief outline of the aims and methods, a timeline, and an informal overview of planned costs (1-2 pages), should be sent by 30 April 2018 to Professor Yaron Matras (, academic lead on Multilingual Manchester and the consortium’s Multilingual Communities research strand. These will be assessed by the consortium’s Steering Committee, which will then invite two or more individuals/teams to send in full proposals for consideration. Joint expressions of interest from staff based at more than one institution are also welcome.

Background information on ‘Cross-language Dynamics: Re-shaping community’ can be found here:

German parliamentarian: Treat other languages with respect, not fear

Member of the German Bundestag Johann Saathoff (SPD, Norden in East Frisia) held a speech at the German parliament on 2 March denouncing a motion by the right-wing Alternative for Germany party to amend the constitution to make German the only national language. Saathoff, who is a native speaker of the regional minority language Plattütsch or Low German, code-switched between his two languages during his speech, making parliamentary history in Germany. Read the speech in the original here, or read our English translation.


Census 2021: An opportunity to acknowledge multilingualism

A group of linguists have asked the UK Statistics Authority to consider re-drafting the question on languages other than Welsh and Gaelic ahead of the next national census planned for 2021. They say that the question ‘What is your main language?’, which was used in the 2011 census, fails to capture the full picture of the country’s language diversity and many individuals’ use of multiple languages.

Click here to read more. 

Manchester marks International Mother & Father Language Day

International Mother Language Day is held every year on 21 February to promote awareness of language diversity and multilingualism. Led by UNESCO, it has been observed across the world since 2000, inspired by events surrounding the Bengali language movement in Bangladesh in 1952.

In Manchester, the day is observed through educational and cultural events held at local libraries and schools. On 21 February 2017, a central event took place for the first time, facilitated by Multilingual Manchester, with community representatives, city council officers and executive members, and practitioners, to discuss Manchester’s vision as a City of Languages. This year’s activities take place again all across the city and involve exhibitions, interactive games, and poetry reading.

To mark this year’s events, Multilingual Manchester is calling on institutions and communities around the world to re-brand 21 February as International Mother & Father Language Day, in order to honour contributions made by parents in all possible family constellations, and to flag the responsibility of all parents to promoting heritage, skills, and a basis for building bridges across cultures through language.

Peer Interpreting at Migrant Support

Multilingual Manchester is working with Migrant Support to deliver interpreter skills training as part of a project that seeks to understand migrant experience of English language learning, and translation and interpreting provision in the City of Manchester.

Dr Rebecca Tipton is working with a group of advanced English language learners to develop interpreting skills designed to support research and facilitate awareness of how to progress to professional interpreter status through advanced training and accreditation.

The project places emphasis on peer interpreting, which is very different to the type of interpreting carried out by professional interpreters in public service settings. In peer interpreting, the interpreter is involved as a co-interviewer and co-discussant in the research interview, in addition to providing interlingual communicative support.

You can find out more about the training here.