Centre for Research on Bilingualism (Bangor University, Wales)
The main theoretical focus of the Centre for Research on Bilingualism is the nature of the relationship between the two languages of bilingual speakers in bilingual communities. The main practical focus will be the implications of the findings for bilingual language policy, planning and implementation.
Research in the field of bilingualism draws on several disciplines, including linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, education, sociology, economics, and political science. Recent years have seen an explosion of research in this area, as a result of which our understanding of the nature of the individual bilingual mind, of language use and development, as well as of the bilingual community, is making rapid progress.
New neuroscientific and experimental studies have revealed far more processing interaction between the languages of a bilingual than was previously suspected, even when a speaker is only using one language at a time. Recent developmental studies have emphasised the positive cognitive effects of knowing more than one language. Work by linguists shows that the use of two languages in the same conversation does not happen at random, but is constrained in ways that we are just beginning to understand. Finally, observational and ethnographic research is now beginning to provide a holistic perspective on the use of two languages and literacies in interaction at home and school.