Netherlands, Nijmegen


when 8 August 2016 - 12 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 350

Successful communication is a key factor for social and cultural integration. At the same time, increasing numbers of people travel, live, or work in a non-native language environment and thus speaking multiple languages that are not their mother tongue.

However, the processing of these non-native languages is a complex cognitive task; speaking and listening to a non-native speaker asks for both sociocultural as for language-specific strategies. This difficult multilingual multitasking in your head is especially noticeable when listening to (or as) a non-native speaker in the presence of background noise such as in a pub.

In this course we will focus on the effects of multilingualism in the real world, ‘in the wild’; what effect does non-nativeness have to comprehensibility, status and image and media choice but also for example on safety in a multilingual working team in international organizations? Would it not be helpful if we could all learn to use new languages in a native way?

How can a new language best be learned; in a classroom with a grammar book or better on the street in the country and the culture the language belongs to? Is there a difference between learning your mother tongue and learning a second language? Is it possible to reach the “perfect” native level in a second language? Does learning to speak and listen in a new language really mean that you have learn to think or literally look at the world around you in a different way?

Although we will discuss articles in this more theoretical Language and Thought debate, we want to focus on empirical research carried out by the Center for Language Studies (ranging from corpus analyses and surveys, acquisition input manipulations to eyetracking and technical speech perception analyses) mainly on language acquisition and non-native speech perception.

Course leader

Dr. M.B.P. Starren
Associate Professor
Centre for Language Studies
Radboud University

Target group

This course is aimed at bachelor and master students in International Business Communication but also students interested in multilingualism are welcome. Professionals, who have to deal with multilingualism on a daily basis in for example a multicultural work floor, might also find this course useful. No prior knowledge of Linguistic is required.

Course aim

After this course you will be able to:
- understand the way we learn a language and the effects of multilingualism in your head.
- grasp the more sociological effects of multilingualism including the advantages and disadvantages of English as a global language in an international (business) context.
- write a research proposal within the broad field of (the consequences) of “Multilingualism”
- carry out a small psycholinguistic experiment to test the consequences “Multilingualism”

Fee info

EUR 350: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)