Linguistics in Modern Foreign Languages Project

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The 'Linguistics in Modern Foreign Languages' (or MFL) project will assess the potential for the inclusion of linguistic topics in the Further Education MFL curriculum. Current syllabi make a sharp distinction between language and content, the latter referring to literature, film, history and culture. This differs from many university courses in which linguistic content is fundamental. Our project will engage students with linguistics and deepen their interests in language, including its historical, cultural and social reflexes. We are interested not only in how stimulating and relevant the pupils find these topics, but also in what effect this exposure has on their language attitudes and their confidence levels with speaking/writing another language.

The project is concerned principally with taking drastic action to address a crisis in MFL teaching and learning. The ultimate aim of this project is to drive stronger uptake and results in MFL study, and to enthuse and better prepare candidates for entry into MFL at university by bringing about a change in the curriculum. We envisage that this will also encourage more students to take MFL degrees at university. Data on higher-education aspirations and eventualities will also be collected as part of the project. The project is currently recruiting for the 2020 pilot. If this pilot is successful, we will be seeking further funding to extend the project to a broader national level, and encourage the participation of more schools, particularly those in the state sector.

Get involved:

Your school can take part in the 2020 pilot by signing up [here]

Read testimonials from teachers involved in the project [here]

Consult presentations from our recent May 2019 conference 'Opportunities for Linguistics in the MFL curriculum'

Policy, dialogues:

A place for linguistics in Key Stage 5 Modern Foreign Languages. Published jointly in Languages, Society & Policy and Impact Issues of Chartered College of Teaching. ( [Pre-print PDF]. Issue edited by Richard Hudson & Graeme Trousdale as part of the issue Language Analysis in Schools: Education and Research (LASER).

Press, outreach:

Linguistics in Modern Foreign Language (MFL) Teaching - Moving through Languages: Schools & and Universities Working Together - Language Acts and World Making - Slides (18/05/2019)

The Economist: 'The agony and ecstasy of grammar' [featuring MFL Project results] (30/03/2019)

Linguistics in MFL - Language skills for the 21st Century - Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Slides (27/10/2018)

TES (Times Educational Supplement): 'Teaching Linguistics Improves Language Skills' (19/10/2018)

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages - Project handout (11/10/2018)

Contact: admin [A] linguisticsinmfl [co] [uk]