Exploring Multilingualism

Linguistic diversity is a fact of human life – as is the imbalance in status between languages.

In the current context of globalisation, this imbalance is manifesting itself most strikingly in the rise of ‘global’ English as the universally recognised lingua franca, and the pressure this in turn puts on other less globally ‘useful’ languages.

The features in this section will present findings from our evolving research on the interaction between multilingualism and creativity, but also address aspects of the context in which our research is taking place. From the difficulties and opportunities of Modern Languages in schools to insights into the impact Brexit will have on languages and their status in the UK, we will be looking at social and political issues to better understand how we can make linguistic diversity more visible, valued, and vibrant.

Osijek, Croatia

Impressions from fieldwork: ‘I have never done these things with English!’

As part of our ongoing psycholinguistic research on figurative language processing, our Metaphor strand took three experiments on the road in November 2018 to test learners of English in Osijek, Croatia.

The first experiment (a priming study) looked at how non-native speakers process conventional English metaphorical expressions (such as open an account or expose the truth) and whether it differs from the way English native speakers process them.

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Illustration of an Elegy written in a country churchyard

Gray's "Elegy" in translation: a multilingual digital humanities project

Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country-Churchyard" (1751) is, according to the Digital Miscellanies Index, the most anthologized poem of the eighteenth century and one of the most widely and frequently translated, paraphrased, and imitated poems in the English language. With to date at least 266 translations into at least 40 languages, the "Elegy" has inspired translators ever since the earliest translations into Latin appeared in the early 1760s.

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