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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


MML Annual Lecture 2014

MML Annual Lecture 2014 - The Vanishing Monolingual

The MML Faculty is proud to announce that, in its inaugural year, the Annual Lecture will be given by Bernardette Holmes. The event will take place on Saturday 25th October from 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm in the Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Site. The title of the lecture will be "The Vanishing Monolingual - why the ability to speak other languages is defining success for the 21st Century". The lecture will be free of charge and open to the public, forming part of the annual University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas

Bernadette HolmesBernardette's lecture will ask the following questions about the use of English today: is English enough for life in the global village? Will English only suffice for aspiring young people, hoping to study and work in England and abroad? Can the monolingual survive in an increasingly interconnected global society? The lecture will address the paradox of contemporary England's lack of multilingual skills and the fact that the English language owes its origins to rich borrowings from other languages, and will argue that monolingualism is a distinct disadvantage for life in the 21st century. It will explore the benefits of learning and using other languages, focusing on global communication and understanding, cultural competence, intellectual and personal development and economic and social prosperity, and put forward a compelling case for the central importance of language skills to the success of individuals, society and the economy.

Bernardette Holmes is an expert in languages education. She is principal researcher of Born Global, a major policy research project funded by the British Academy, engaging key stakeholders from employment and education in a radical rethinking of languages education for 21st century Britain. She is Campaign Director of Speak to the Future and Past President of the Association for Language Learning.   Bernardette is recognized as an innovative and inspiring teacher who throughout a long career in languages, as adviser, inspector, teacher trainer and researcher has made a major contribution to languages education in England.  Throughout the development of language policy since the inception of the National Curriculum, Bernardette has played a central role in articulating both the pedagogy and support structures needed for coherent language learning in primary and secondary schools.  She is currently advising the DfE on curriculum reform for modern languages and is lead drafter of the new GCSE criteria for both modern and ancient languages and Subject Content Criteria Writer for Advanced Level.  She has international experience in language policy profiling as a member of an expert panel for the Council of Europe and through research and development of Content and Language Integrated Learning.  Bernardette is a Bye-Fellow of Downing College, University of Cambridge.

For more information, please see the Festival of Ideas web pages. Audience members are advised that the lecture will be filmed and that attendees should be aged 15+.