2021 - 2022 funded but still continuing
DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT(S)
Promoting Language Policy seeks to provide robust evidence for the value of languages to key issues of UK public policy and to facilitate contact between policymakers and academics. To date the project has had two major outputs. In collaboration with RAND Europe, it produced more rigorous evidence for the economic impact of the lack of language skills in the UK (The economic value to the UK of speaking other languages 2022). The study found that languages play a significant role in international trade and that not sharing a common language acts as a non-tariff trade barrier. A key finding is that investing in languages education in the UK will most likely return more than the investment cost. The benefit-to-cost ratios are estimated to be at least 2:1 for promoting Arabic, French, Mandarin or Spanish education, meaning that spending £1 could return approximately £2. The project has also created an online repository of UK language policy documents for policymakers, stakeholders and researchers (https://www.promotinglanguagepolicy.org/languagepolicydocuments). The repository’s emphasis is primarily on legislation – it holds just over 1,500 pieces of primary and secondary legislation – but it also features a range of documents which make policy recommendations (e.g. by the British Academy and British Council).
WHY/HOW DOES YOUR PROJECT ADVANCE OUR KNOWLEDGE ON BILINGUALISM/MULTILINGUALISM/CONTACT?
MEITS looked at the benefits of multilingualism in a holistic way including languages learnt in our schools and universities, indigenous language and community languages
It explored the benefits and possible disadvantages of being multilingual from a number of related angles, including for social and community cohesion and health and well-being
Through working with schools it produced research-informed materials for primary and secondary schools (wamcam.org)
Both MEITS and Promoting Language Policy had a strong policy dimension. A database of all language UK legislation was produced as well as a report with RAND Europe on the economic value to the UK of speaking other languages
WHAT IS THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF YOUR PROJECT?
We ran a number of outreach activities, notably our Pop-Up museum or World of Languages which had a number of activities to demonstrate that languages are fun and easier than you think.
Though our policy work, we worked to move languages higher up the political agenda in the UK.
LOCATION AND/OR IMPACT OF YOUR PROJECT