Reflections on an inspiring Modern Languages research in progress workshop

Research in and for Languages was jointly organised by the LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies at the University of Southampton and Scottish CILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at the University of Strathclyde It was held at Strathclyde on 27 April 2012.

As one of the workshop organisers, I was overwhelmed by the large number of high quality proposals that were submitted following our call for papers. We were quite literally spoilt for choice. Presentations on the day were really wide-ranging in content and theme:

  • Research on Languages, Cultures and Systems in an era of Complexity – Professor Richard Johnstone (University of Stirling)
  • An innovative approach to teaching Chinese to beginner teachers – Dr Jane Medwell and Katherine Richardson (University of Warwick)
  • Is English enough? Language Management in the UK financial sector – Dr Mary Fischer (Edinburgh Napier University)
  • A study of young learner motivation: adding an affective dimension to the ‘younger = better’ debate – Louise Courtney (University of Southampton)
  • Translation in intercultural health settings – Teresa Piacentini (University of Glasgow)
  • One of us’ – a case study of language and identity in two mixed-race (white and South Asian) Britons – Sheena Kalayil (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Teaching successful spoken requests in an EAP context Christian Jones & Nicola Halenko (University of Central Lancashire)
  • Crowdsourcing research and corpus planning for lesser-resourced languages – Mark McConville (University of Glasgow)
  • Assessing the work placement abroad – Laurence Giraud-Johnstone (University of the West of Scotland)

All these speakers were reporting on really interesting findings. We were also fortunate enough to have three excellent poster presentations at lunch-time:

  • E-learning methodology in Austrian adult education based on English e-grammar for adult ESL learners – Christina Auerbach
  • Creating resources for the development of reading skills in Polish at ab initio level – Marta Becquet (University of Glasgow)
  • Introducing students to methods of digital humanities and text analysis – Richard Whitt and colleagues (University of Strathclyde)

It was great to get a flavour of the wide variety of research that is going on in languages and was a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking day. Presentations are now available online at the above link.