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Multilingual Practices: Tackling Challenges and Creating Opportunities

Learn about central aspects of multilingualism in today's globalised societies, such as cognition, policies and education.

12,925 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

In a world of globalisation, people who do not share the same language meet more often every day. Being able to deal with these multilingual practices in an effective way can give you an advantage in your daily life and work.

The challenges and opportunities that we will speak of will be recognisable for learners. The course will also introduce you to real multilingual families who will share their personal experiences with their multilingual situations with you. The issues arising from the individual situations of our families will then be looked at from a scientific perspective.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds Thousands of languages are spoken around the world, and if you walk the streets of larger cities, you’ll hear hundreds of different speech varieties around you. We can say that 300 languages are spoken in London alone. Worldwide, there are more multilingual people than mono-linguals. Due to migration, multilingualism is all around us. It’s in the streets, at schools, on the workfloor, and perhaps even in your home. Knowledge about multilingualism can be an advantage to your life, and give you answers to questions such as how to raise your children multilingually, or how to deal with colleagues from a different language background. Do you feel that you live in a multilingual society? Or are you a multilingual? Do you work in a multilingual environment?

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds Or would you like to know what multilingualism does to your brain? Maybe you’d like to learn more about minority languages. Or you might be curious about language policies. If so, this free online course, Multilingual Practices, may be for you. Welcome to the University of Groningen, one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. The University has branches in the city of Groningen, but also in Leeuwarden, the capital of the multilingual province of Friesland. My name is Nanna Hilton, and I am an assistant professor teaching in our Bachelor programme, Minorities and Multilingualism, as well as in our Masters programme in Multilingualism. I would like to invite you to join our course and to start exploring multilingual practices.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 seconds After taking this course, you’ll be familiar with key theories in linguistics relating to multilingualism. And you’ll be able to join the conversation about language in your home community. We’ll show you how to do research on multilingualism, and how to tackle some of the issues that arise when people who do not share the same languages meet. So join us as we explore one of the most interesting and wonderful challenges of today’s societies, multilingualism.

What topics will you cover?

  • Definition of multilingualism from an individual and a research perspective
  • Language attitudes towards different languages
  • Multilingualism in the urban scenery (linguistic landscaping)
  • Language policies and the protection of endangered languages
  • Heritage language maintenance and transmission in multilingual communities
  • Advantages and challenges of multilingualism in the workplace
  • Multilingualism in education (the case of the trilingual education)
  • The role of the English language in multilingual education models
  • The cognitive advantage of bi- or multilinguals
  • Types and features of minority languages
  • New speakers of minority languages
  • Language contact (contact linguistics)

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify central aspects around societal and individual multilingualism
  • Evaluate the benefits of multilingualism of both minority and migrant speakers
  • Identify issues that arise when people who do not share the same languages meet
  • Critically evaluate multilingual language policies for both migrant and minority languages
  • Investigate multilingual practices

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at a wide range of people with an interest in multilingualism such as migrants, linguistics and language students, teachers, language policy makers, professionals who are working in a multilingual environment or parents, who are considering to raise their children multilingually.

It may also be an interesting addition for learners who participated in University of Southampton’s course on Understanding Language.

However, no prior knowledge is required to take part in the course and we welcome anyone who is curious to know more about multilingual practices.

Who will you learn with?

I'm an assistant professor in sociolinguistics at the University of Groningen. My teaching and research is concerned with minority language issues and linguistic diversity, variation, and change.

Hi! My name is Joana and I am a researcher in the area of multilingualism, in particular regarding forms of multilingual education.

Who developed the course?

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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