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Research at the Research Centre on Multlingualism

Through its research projects, the RCM pursues the ambitious goal of contributing scholarly and empirically supported research findings on social questions pertaining to multilingualism. Priorities and focus of all research are defined in a multi-year plan which, when proposed by the RCM, undergoes approval by the steering committee.

In all its research activities, the RCM is committed to the principles of good scholarly practice. Applied research done at the Research Centre on Multilingualism (RCM) includes the areas "Multilingualism in individuals", "Language teaching and learning, assessing and evaluating language skills", and "Multilingualism in institutions and society".

Multilingualism in individuals

This area of research deals with the simultaneous or successive acquisition of several languages (first, second and third languages) in various age groups and in varying demographic sectors – including the immigrant population. Through longitudinal empirical studies, researchers will shed light on the factors that influence the development of individual language competence.

Direction: Prof. Raphael Berthele

The potential to learn foreign languages varies from one individual to the next and has been investigated by many researchers as of the early 1950s. Individuals’ ability...

This research overview focuses on differences between individuals when it comes to results in learning foreign languages in school. The aim is to identify and discuss...

In the project “Multilingual Production by Children and Professionals in Playgroups” (Mehrsprachige Praktiken von Kindern und Fachpersonen in Spielgruppen, MePraS) a typology of multilingual...

Teaching and learning languages, assessing and evaluating language skills

Research in this area focuses on developing, diagnosing and guiding multilingual and pluricultural competences. It addresses three main issues: first, language acquisition in its non-guided, guided (classroom) and autonomous forms; second, the didactics of second languages and multilingualism including key aspects such as teaching and learning objectives, curricula and syllabuses as well as methods of teaching and learning languages; and third, the assessment of language competence and the evaluation of language programmes.

Direction: Prof. Thomas Studer, Prof. Anita Thomas

The aim of this project is the empirically-based development of assessments to test the profession-specific language skills in teachers of French, English and Italian as a foreign language in...

The aim of the current project it to evaluate the learning impact of an age-appropriate, feasible exchange setting (two short, direct interactions embedded in contact via e-mail and video) at the...

This project aims at documenting and discussing the conditions for implementing bilingual teaching at primary school level based on two main issues:

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If the aim is to measure how well learners can actually use a foreign language, then competence-oriented testing with near-authentic tasks is the method of choice. There is, however, a need for...

Literacy courses designed for adult migrants have been offered for decades in countries experiencing significant immigration. The recent past has seen an increase in research on the teaching and...

Current approaches to foreign language teaching and learning focus strongly on language in use. The overarching aim is communicative competence, a consequence of, mainly...

This project aimed to gain empirical knowledge about how learners deal with multilingual teaching approaches in the foreign language classroom and to acquire a better understanding of the...

Despite the acknowledged benefit of language (and cultural) exchange at all school levels, the promotion of this instrument has had limited impact on exchanges actually conducted. The organisation...