Maaike Verrips, Anna de Graaf en Fleur Verbiest of De Taalstudio
October/ November 2016
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Face to face with Maaike Verrips, Anna de Graaf and Fleur Verbiest of De Taalstudio in Monnickendam, The Netherlands.
Maaike Verrips, Anna de Graaf and Fleur Verbiest form an ever expanding interactive platform for everyone dealing with multilingual children. The platform is called Meertalig.nl.
What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages/education/ multilingualism?
Our website Meertalig.nl was launched in 2014, and we form an ever expanding interactive platform for everyone dealing with multilingual children. We are experts in the field of multilingualism and language acquisition, and our team comprises linguists, psychologists, speech therapists, researchers, educators and science communicators. Apart from our website, we have developed workshops and training sessions for parents, teachers, speech therapists and other professionals dealing with multilingualism. In addition we host the Dutch branch for the international research network Bilingualism Matters, which has as its main goal to disseminate knowledge about multilingualism.
What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?
To make sure that the general public and policy makers become more and better informed about facts we know from scientific research.
In order to make more evidence based decisions, people need clear and understandable information. As it is now, many scientific results are divulged rather fragmented. Meertalig.nl tries to see to a comprehensive and understandable presentation of these results, and to close the gap between research and the general public. An example: the economic potential of multilingualism is accepted by many, though primarily for western and high status languages like English, French and Chinese. The value and potential of migrant languages must, however, not be underestimated. Something that still occurs, contrary to what’s reported by many studies about the value of maintaining these languages.
What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?
Although it has been known for quite some time that bilingualism has its benefits, we see a growing interest in early childhood bilingualism. At home as well as in education. With the Dutch Bilingualism Matters branch we participate in the European research project Advancing the European Multilingual Experience (AThEME) , that studies multilingualism in all sectors of the European community. The project aims at a better understanding of what it means to be bilingual or multilingual. Meertalig.nl will be present at the DRONGO language festival om September 30th and October 2016. There we will display more of our activities, and we are available to answer all kinds of questions about multilingualism and bilingualism.
Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?
- The 5th DRONGO language festival will take place on Friday 30th September and 1st October 2016 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
- Meertalig.nl is een (inter)actief centrum voor iedereen die met meertalige kinderen te maken heeft. Op deze site vindt u betrouwbare, heldere informatie: de “basics” van meertalig opvoeden. Meertalig.nl is verfrissend anders en telkens up to date door maandelijkse bijdragen van experts en ouders. Wie verdieping zoekt, kan zijn hart ophalen bij onze links naar gedegen boeken, artikelen, sites en blogs.
Bouw mee aan onze online community: deel uw ervaring door een reactie op onze artikelen, of op onze Facebookpagina! Heeft u na het grasduinen op Meertalig.nl behoefte aan professionele ondersteuning op maat, dan vindt u de mogelijkheden bij ‘activiteiten’. Meertalig.nl is een initiatief van De Taalstudio en de samenwerkingsverbanden van het Landelijk Overleg Minderheden, en kwam tot stand met financiële steun van Stichting Terra.
- AThEME is a 5-year collaborative research project studying multilingualism in Europe. Researchers from 17 partner institutions across 8 European countries will (1) investigate cognitive, linguistic and sociological issues in multilingual Europe, (2) assess existing public policies and practices within the areas of education and health and (3) to contribute to evidence-based policy making. The project aims to raise awareness of multilingualism among policy makers, health professionals, academics and educators.