Welcome to the LinguaMania podcast. This series has been produced by researchers from Creative Multilingualism, a 4-year research programme funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of its Open World Research Initiative.
The series explores some fascinating perspectives on languages and language learning, asking: Do we really need human translators? Why do we use metaphors and what do they teach us about other languages and cultures? How much of an unfamiliar language can we understand? Would creative language teaching make the subject more popular? Can languages help protect the natural environment? And so much more...
The episodes have been curated by researchers from Creative Multilingualism's seven research strands: Metaphor, Naming, Intelligibility, Creative Economy, World Literatures, Prismatic Translation and Language Learning.
The first episode was released on 27 February 2020; we will be releasing a new episode every 2 weeks until early June 2020.
Episode 1: How ‘foreign’ are ‘foreign languages’?
It’s probably fair to say that many people think foreign languages are alien to us, unless of course we’ve spent years studying them. But is this really the case? Or can we actually understand some words in a different language – even if we’ve never studied that language before? Professor Martin Maiden suggests that languages aren’t always as foreign as we think, especially if we have some tricks up our sleeve to help us decipher them.
Episode 2: Understanding our natural world: why languages matter
There are many endangered languages around the world. If they are lost or go dormant, the heart and soul of many cultures and communities will be affected. But have you ever considered the impact the loss of a language might have on our natural world? In this episode of LinguaMania, Felice Wyndham, Karen Park and Andrew Gosler explore the links between language and nature. How can revitalizing linguistic diversity help also protect biodiversity? And why do the words we use when talking about our local flora and fauna matter?
Episode 3: Why should we read translated texts?
In this episode of LinguaMania, we’re exploring what we lose or gain when we read a translated book. Are we missing something by reading the English translation and not the original language version? Or can the translation process enhance the text in some way? Jane Hiddleston and Laura Lonsdale from the University of Oxford discuss these questions and also look at what fiction and translation can tell us about how languages blend with one another and interact.
Episode 4: How do metaphors shape our world?
We tend to think of metaphors as poetic language, but we actually use them all the time in our everyday speech. But how do metaphors in different languages work? And can the metaphors we use affect our thinking? In this episode of LinguaMania, we explore how we use metaphors across the world, looking at the different ways of representing abstract concepts, such as emotion and time, through idioms and metaphors.
Episode 5: Languages are in crisis in our schools – could creativity help save the subject?
an a creative approach to the study of languages enhance learner outcomes? Faced with the dramatic fall in UK students learning a foreign language, Creative Multilingualism's Language Learning research team have been exploring different ways of teaching languages in schools. Could there be a way to help students feel more positive about language learning, while also improving their learning outcomes? In this episode of LinguaMania, Suzanne Graham, Linda Fisher, Heike Krüsemann and Julia Hofweber tell you about a programme they've been running with students learning French and German in schools across the UK.
Episode 6: Why do we need people to translate when we have machine translation?
Some people ask why they should bother learning a language when there are online apps and websites which can translate quickly and accurately. In this episode of LinguaMania, Matthew Reynolds and Eleni Phillipou argue that translation is so much more than just changing words from one language into another. Translation is creative, it's personal and it can help build communities.
Episode 7: The Multilingual Performance Project: Celebrating Languages Through Drama
The Multilingual Performance Project (MPP) showcases and celebrates the multilingual nature of schools and demonstrates how multilingualism can interact creatively with teaching in the classroom, promoting both taught languages and community languages. In this episode of LinguaMania we hear from the project’s director, Dr Daniel Tyler-McTighe, about how he has been supporting schools in England and Wales through workshops, performances and competitions. Plus teacher Ann Poole and drama practitioner Holly Bateman explain the impact the project has had on their work. We also hear from Eneida Garcia Villanueva about a related performance project she ran in a Scottish primary school.
Episode 8: Diversity in the arts: why languages need to be part of the conversation
Summary: Many languages and dialects spoken in British homes rarely make it onto the stage. In this episode of Lingua Mania, we explore why linguistic diversity in the arts matters. We speak to Professor Philip Bullock about multiculturalism in different music genres and playwright and producer Mojisola Adebayo about the representation of different black voices in British theatre. We also hear from Ashlee Elizabeth-Lolo about her play Between the Rocks, and from Dr Noah Birksted-Breen about his experience of translating a Russian play into British hip-hop with artists Lady Sanity and Stanza Divan.