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LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR: THE MML ANNUAL LECTURE: MULTILINGUALISM AND LANGUAGE LEARNING - EXPLORING THE BOUNDARIES, RETHINKING EXTREMES

Thursday 18 October: 5:00pm - 7:00pm

St Catharine’s College, McGrath Centre, Trumpington Street, CB2 1RL

What is “normal” and “natural” and what is “extreme” when it comes to multilingualism and language learning? Knowing many languages? Or just one? Keeping forever your mother tongue? Or losing it? Mixing languages? Or keeping them apart? Thomas H. Bak, University of Edinburgh, addresses these questions by integrating insights from a wide range of disciplines, from anthropology, linguistics and social sciences to psychology, cognitive sciences and neuroscience. In particular, he traces the evolution of our understanding of language and the brain over the last few decades, from static, modularist models in which language (and other cognitive functions) were neatly separated from each other, to current interactive networks, based on the concepts of neuroplasticity and cognitive reserve and accommodating for changing patterns of language use throughout lifetime. He discusses the implications of this paradigm shift for the role of modern languages in education, health, social life and policy.

Born and raised in Cracow, Poland, Dr Thomas H Bak studied medicine in Germany and Switzerland, obtaining his doctorate with a thesis on acute aphasias (language disorders caused by brain diseases) at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany. He worked clinically in psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery in Basel, Bern, Berlin and Cambridge. In 2006, he moved to Edinburgh where he continues to work on the interaction between motor and cognitive functions in patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. Since 2010, he is the president of the World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Aphasia, Dementia and Cognitive Disorders (WFN RG ADCD).

In recent years, Dr. Bak’s work focused on the impact of language learning and
bilingualism/multilingualism on cognitive functions across the lifespan and in brain
diseases such as dementia and stroke. His studies include a wide range of populations across the world, from students to elderly, from early childhood bilinguals to second languages learners, from Scotland, through Malta, Saudi Arabia and India to China and Singapore.

Blog: “Multilingual lives”: http://healthylinguisticdiet.com/multilingual-lives/

Booking Information

Telephone number:
01223 766766

Booking required

Accessibility

Accessible toilet, Step-free access, Hearing loop

Additional Information

Age: 15+, Talk, Arrive on time, free