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The event took place earlier this month

Pioneering research about the impact of multilingualism around the globe showcased at University of Exeter event

Experts showcased their pioneering research about the impact of multilingualism around the globe at a University of Exeter event.

Researchers showed how cities and countries have been transformed because residents use different languages at home, work and school.

The free online symposium was jointly organised by Dr Francesco Goglia from the University of Exeter and Professor Francesco Cavallaro from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. It was supported financially by Exeter Global Partnerships and took place earlier this month.

As well as presentations about ongoing research, experts John Hajek, Clare Mar-Molinero and Peter Siemund took part in a round table discussion about the study of multilingualism in the city.

Dr Goglia discussed his research on Italian-Nigerian families who have migrated onward from Italy to the UK. They use English, Italian, as well as any one or more Nigerian languages and Nigerian Pidgin English. Dr Goglia interviews eight people from Italian-Nigerian families living in the UK. He has found those in the second generation maintain Italian with friends of the same age, and view Italian as useful for their career prospects in the UK or to support to a potential return to Italy.

John Hajek, from the University of Melbourne, discussed his research on multilingualism in Melbourne, where a third of the population speak a language other than English at home. Rapid population growth in recent decades has seen diversification of Melbourne’s linguistic and cultural makeup.

Antonia Rubino, from the University of Sydney, discussed her research on multilingualism among young Australian-Italians.

Francesco Cavallaro and Ng Bee Chin, from Nanyang Technological University, has analysed the latest census data on language use in Singapore. The latest version allowed people to say which language they frequently used at home. The answers are allowing researchers to track changing language use among Singaporeans during the past 50 years, and the implications for the linguistic future of the country.

Ying Ying Tan, from Nanyang Technological University, discussed the development of multilingualism in Singapore by using empirical data from large-scale language surveys conducted over the last few years.

Susana Afonso, from the University of Exeter, shared her research on multilingualism in Portuguese-speaking Africa.

Catharina Williams-van Klinken and Olinda Lucas, from the Dili Institute of Technology and Biblia ba Ema Hotu, discussed their research about multilingualism in Timor-Leste, where many people have to speak five languages as a result of colonial history. During the past two decades many East Timorese have moved from local languages to Tetun Dili as the language of the home. Since East Timor’s vote for independence in 1999, Indonesian has been used less. Portuguese is the language of the official version of the law, of some government and parliamentary debate, and of some government television and radio programming. Tetun is used in church, much parliamentary debate, most public meetings, most of the print media and much locally-produced television and radio programming.

Date: 16 July 2021

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