Why do people discriminate against speakers with foreign accents?

Eric Bridiers, for U.S. Mission. CC BY-ND 2.0

Listening to someone speaking with a foreign accent makes human brains work harder which can lead to unintentional discrimination against people communicating in languages other than their own, new research suggests. But exposure to foreign accents can also change the way people speak, and over time, the ensuing accents can become new languages. While most … Read more

Claims that bilingualism keeps brains young could be ‘wishful thinking’

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By Vittoria D’Alessio Speaking two languages is a highly valuable skill but is an unlikely defence against age-related cognitive decline as previously thought, according to new research on ageing and bilingualism. Scientists from the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University in the Netherlands have been studying how bilingualism might protect against … Read more

The internet is helping to revive minority languages

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Europe’s minority languages have been squeezed by nation-building, urbanisation and the ‘lingua francas’ of the internet, according to Professor Anneli Sarhimaa, specialist in Northern European and Baltic languages and cultures at the University of Mainz, Germany. But one lesson she has learned from researching the fate of the Finnic language Karelian, spoken in Finland and north-western Russia, … Read more