Mercator Multilingualism Lecture 2023 with Dr Sharon Unsworth

We are delighted to announce that this year's Mercator Multilingualism Lecture will be given by Dr Sharon Unsworth (Centre for Language Studies, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen). On November 28, 2023, Unsworth will give a lecture with the title  'What (not) to expect when raising or working with bilingual children' (abstract below).

The lecture will take place online (via Zoom), allowing anyone in the world to participate.
Attendance is free, but we kindly ask you to register.

Date: Tuesday 28 November, 2023
Place: Online (ZOOM)
Time: 16:00-17:00 hrs CET
Language: English
Register: Via Mercator/ZOOM
Flyer (pdf): Frisian / English


What (not) to expect when raising or working with bilingual children
Dr Sharon Unsworth

Children growing up bilingually acquire their two or more languages in much the same way as monolingual children. At the same time, there are clear differences. When raising or working with bilingual children, it's important to know what these differences are so that you have realistic expectations about what children should or should not do. In this talk, I present research on some of the key features of bilingual language development and what this means for how children learn and use both the majority and minority/heritage languages. These features include the amount and type of input, the availability of genuine opportunities for language use, and the possibility that one language can influence the other.

I will discuss the role of (non-)native input (Unsworth et al., 2019) and (older) siblings (Tsinivits & Unsworth, 2021), which factors predict active language use in bilingual children (Unsworth, in prep), as well as the impact of typological differences between languages when it comes to language use and language proficiency (Koutamanis et al., submitted; Unsworth, in prep). Furthermore, I will showcase a recent tool (Q-BEx) we designed to document and quantify some of these key features of bilingual development (De Cat et al., 2022).


About the speaker

Dr Sharon Unsworth is a linguist at the Centre for Language Studies. Her research focuses on figuring out which factors contribute to making bilingual language development a success, and she is passionate about all things multilingual! She is host and maker of the "Kletsheads" podcast (English / Dutch), and director of the “Kletskoppen” child language festival.