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Ulster To Launch Information Service To Support Multilingualism In Northern Ireland

A new service for parents of multilingual children, educators and language professionals has been set up by University of Ulster linguists.

With multilingualism on the increase in Northern Ireland, UCoM (the Ulster Centre on Multilingualism) will be launched at an event on the Jordanstown campus on June 18.

Inspired by the success of the advice service, Bilingualism Matters,in Scotland, the linguistics team from Ulster’s School of Communication has established UCoM, with support from the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS).

UCoM aims to address the questions and concerns of parents, educators and language professionals and share the latest research by:

* Addressing frequently asked questions and concerns by parents and language professionals.

* Offering evidence-based information on key questions on multilingual language development.

* Organising events in the community wherethe benefits as well as the challenges of the process of growing up multilingual will be discussed with interested parties.

Support from UCoM will be available in two ways:

* An online resource (www.ulster.ac.uk/ucom) providing information on the benefits and challenges of multilingualism, including a discussion forum and links to current research.

* Hands-on initiatives providing interactive information and support from linguistic specialists.

UCoM will also aim to demystify some of the common myths about multilingualism and promote cultural and linguistic diversity through increasing awareness and education on the benefits of multilingualism.

The launch event on Monday features an invited talk by Prof Antonella Sorace (University of Edinburgh), entitled ‘Bilingualism: An Investment for Life’.

A world authority in the field of bilingual language development, Professor Sorace is founder and director of Bilingualism Matters.

Dr Catrin Rhys from the University of Ulster linguistics team said: “Northern Ireland is said to be in transition from a bicultural to a plural society; a transition that has the potential to provide significant economic, social and cultural benefit to the region.

“By supporting multilingualism, UCoM has a role to play in supporting that transition.”

The launch of UCoM takes place in the Loughview Suite, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, on Monday June 18, 2012 at 4.30pm. To reserve a place contact: Sharon McKee, 028 90368447. E: s.mckee@ulster.ac.uk

For more information about UCoM, log on to: www.ulster.ac.uk/ucom

Dr Catrin Rhys is available for interview

CAPTION: Dr Catrin Rhys from the University of Ulster’s School of Communication

Media enquiries:

Audrey Watson

Media & Corporate Relations

University of Ulster

Tel: 028 90366386

E: a.watson1@ulster.ac.uk