Be Curious

Dr Clare Wright from Linguistics and Phonetics, with LCS staff colleagues and students, brought language fun and games to the public at Leeds University Be Curious Festival, 30 March 2019

Over 100 visitors of all ages from 8 months to 80 years tried our many activities based on insights from recent research on bilingualism – finding out why learning languages is empowering and exciting, and how being bilingual has been found to help people be better problem-solvers, show greater empathy, and may even help stave off dementia.

We showcased research about how working memory may work differently in different languages, and on the impact of residence abroad on language and identity supported by ERASMUS ( We also highlighted work on helping EAL children achieve their potential in English primary schools (

Visitors had fun trying out writing their name in Arabic or Chinese, guessing Russian words, and comparing how French children’s vocabulary books have changed from 100 years ago to today. We had quizzes for guessing different language scripts, or what languages lie behind famous phrases in English: no-one skived off, or got miffed – everyone found  it was all tickety-boo!