Research shows first language attrition in bilingual people is more common than expected

Researchers at the University of Essex in England are finding that language attrition in bilingual people is more common than previously thought. Language attrition is when second language learners, who do not use their first language regularly, often start to feel ‘rusty.’ It is very common, according to the university’s website. According to research, immigrants can be affected by this phenomenon as attrition happens to those who move away from their first language environment. Monika Schmid, a professor at the department of language and linguistics at the University of Essex, wrote on her website that attrition can happen due to the language not being used after migration.     Linguistic knowledge can be affected by ageing, illness or trauma, or changes […]

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Université de Montréal research shows bilingual brains age better

Being bilingual may be handy in the nation’s capital, but research from the Université de Montréal shows knowing more than one language is also good for your brain as you grow older. Researchers at the university found that being bilingual makes carrying out tasks and concentrating easier as we age. Professor Ana Inés Ansaldo conducted a study in which two groups of seniors—one monolingual and one bilingual—were asked to perform various tasks while ignoring outside distraction, according to a press release from the Université de Montréal. The point of the study was to “discover the benefits of bilingualism,” Ansaldo said in the release. In the study, both bilingual and monolingual participants were asked to focus on the colour of an […]

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Letter: It’s time Ottawa becomes officially bilingual

Ottawa is moving towards becoming officially bilingual. But wait—wasn’t it already bilingual anyway? At least, that’s what mayor Jim Watson says. The street signs may be in English and French, but the City of Ottawa isn’t officially a bilingual capital. The organization Bilingual Ottawa is now asking city councillors to change the City of Ottawa Act to declare the city officially bilingual. This may be quite shocking, but being bilingual shouldn’t be an option: it should be a requirement. Canada recognizes its national languages as French and English, but is known worldwide for its Anglophone cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver. Even Montreal, the most populous city in Quebec, is very Anglophone. Ottawa itself is on the border of Quebec […]

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Ottawa City Hall hosts welcome event for international students

Oct. 4 marked the second year of the “Ottawa Welcome Event for International Students” at Ottawa City Hall. The event aims to make students feel like part of the community, and educate them on different opportunities within the city, according to a city release. The event included bilingual workshops, city and community resources, networking opportunities, and games. Stella Garcia, the volunteer coordinator for the event, said many of the international students were masters or PhD students. “It’s been fabulous. At one point during our training, we had twenty-five students in the room and who spoke twenty-six languages,” Garcia said. The event included information booths from local businesses and service centres, including the Ottawa Public Library, the Royal Bank of Canada, […]

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Letter: Carleton must strengthen its French program

Walking down the streets of Ottawa, you might hear protests about politics, whines about wait times, or buzz about new businesses. Listen closely. Some of this chatter will probably be in French. You’ve heard our second official tongue spoken by your neighbour, your relative, your seat partner on the bus. The back of the cereal box you read this morning was divided into two neat columns of language. The University of Ottawa (U of O) and Carleton University are not only both located in the capital of our bilingual country—they’re also only minutes from Quebec. But only one school offers a French immersion program. Hint: it isn’t Carleton. If you took French classes before university, you might want to take […]

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