graphical image
Spanish grand building with river
Photo by Joan Oger (https://unsplash.com/@joanoger): Plaza de España, Sevilla

“This goes right to the heart of addressing the fundamental psychological barriers towards modern languages learning in the UK: linguistics reduces the gulf between the knower and the ‘non-knower‘ and therefore increases the wish to learn, by bringing in observable, fascinating details that everyone can partake in. It makes languages come alive, be a multi-faceted tool for human understanding that is part of everyone‘s history. Linguistics is a leveller, and a formidable skill to learn.”

Anonymous teacher feedback, 2021

The materials “made me realise the diversity of the German language”. 

Anonymous student feedback, 2021

“We looked more deeply into how German is formed, rather than just blindly following rules.”

Anonymous student feedback, 2021

“The similarities between Old English and Old German were fascinating.”

“My teaching highlight? Seeing students realise how multi-lingual France is and how history/geography have influenced the languages there.”

“If they are studying A-level languages it would seem appropriate to understand something of the study of language. It may influence future studies and career choices.”

“[The co-creation materials] provide depth and inclusivity in an international student body.”

“I think the distinction between 'descriptive' and 'normative' was important and just the general idea of how fluid language is, how geography and history influence the developments of languages”

“The main benefits? Recognition moments between Latin, Greek, French, Swedish and German - fascinating insights about capitalisation or no capitalisation. Sound awareness and incentive to try out phonetics much increased.”

“[My students] found it refreshing to access university-produced material, it made them feel connected to their future. :)”

“[My students] enjoyed seeing the course content in a different way and looking at language more broadly.”

“The Linguistics in MFL Project has brought benefits to both my students and my own teaching practice. I was keen to explore how study of linguistics can engage students and improve their competence in second language acquisition. Delivering the project in the summer term of year 12 also provided a valuable enrichment to studies as students began to consider university choices.

My A level students engaged positively with the course materials, enjoying the opportunity to learn about French as a language. The discussions surrounding phonetics and morphology particularly in relation to verb endings has a discernible impact on their pronunciation, deepening their understanding of the differences between written and spoken French. I have also designed linguistics starter activities to enable students to become more proficient at identifying patterns of language and build word families. “

Janette Swainston, Head of MFL (Longsands Academy, St Neots)

"Linguistics really delivers on equity - this came home to me as a really pressing need [given] how [MFL] uptake is narrowing to become the preserve of elite schools, and again as a huge opportunity highlighted by the fact that anyone can 'do' linguistics in relation to their own L1, thus giving the lie to students who think it's 'posh' to talk about language.

[The] talk has inspired me to resurrect some materials I used to use years ago to introduce L2 teaching, as I'm offering a 'Tongue twisters' session during our 'Raising the Bar' day when we invite year 6 students from primary schools in Ipswich to join us for a taste of sixth form life.

Claire Robinson, teacher (Suffolk One, state VI form college)
© 2021-2022 The Linguistics in MFL Project