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 Centre also supports, explores and contributes to our knowledge of multilingual speakers and communities within the areas mentioned above. The leading practical guide will be the implications of the findings for bilingual language policy, planning and implementation.
The bilingual and multilingual community is making rapid progress. Research in bilingualism (and multilingualism) 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, resulting in our understanding of the nature of the individual bilingual mind, language use and development, and identity construction.
Recent developmental studies have emphasised the positive cognitive effects of knowing more than one language. New neuroscientific and experimental studies have revealed far more processing interaction between the languages of a bilingual (and multilingualism) than was previously suspected, even when a speaker is only using one language at a time. Work by linguists shows that using two or more languages in the same conversation does not happen randomly but is constrained in ways we are just beginning to understand. Finally, observational and ethnographic research is now starting to provide a holistic perspective on using two or more languages and literacies in interaction at home and school. The Centre for Research on Bilingualism constitutes an unprecedented initiative to move forward in all these areas by combining several different methodological approaches, including neuroscientific, experimental, and observational procedures.
Located in the well-established bilingual community in the Welsh-English speaking area of North Wales, the Research Centre has an advantage in providing easy access to bilingual people. It will allow an unprecedented concentration of effort on Welsh-English bilinguals and offer a springboard into other bilingual and multilingual communities.
To increase the understanding of bilingualism (and multilingualism) worldwide, as regards both the individual and the community
To build research capacity on bilingualism (and multilingualism) in the UK by providing a vibrant interdisciplinary ‘laboratory’ for the study of bilingualism (and multilingualism) in action, which aims to serve as a platform for interactions between bilingualism experts and junior researchers
To develop strong bidirectional links with practitioners and policymakers concerned with bilingualism (and multilingualism) in the UK, to ground research and theory in the needs of those users and ensure dissemination of research findings
To develop new collaborations between researchers on bilingualism and multilingualism at Bangor University and bilingualism and multilingualism experts worldwide.