Professor of Developmental Linguistics , The University of Edinburgh
Beltane Fellow: 1 Sept 2009-30 Nov 2009
Antonella works in the area of Linguistics, Language Development and Language & Cognition. In September 2008 Antonella established Bilingualism Matters, an information service aimed at disseminating knowledge of the cognitive advantages of child bilingualism among families, teachers and policy makers. The service was the result of a year of preparatory work funded by the ESRC and the Knowledge Transfer Office of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Edinburgh. The initiative was important because bilingualism is often still surrounded by false beliefs, misconceptions, or simply lack of information. Research on bilingual language and cognition has shown that bilingualism is beneficial for children’s development in terms of not only awareness of different people and cultures but also better attention, precocious reading skills, and enhanced language learning abilities. In the eight months since it started the service has grown beyond any expectation, not only in Edinburgh but also elsewhere in Scotland and in Europe.
With the Public Engagement Fellowship Antonella developed Bilingualism Matters by establishing partnerships with existing agencies and organisations in Scotland and beyond, and organised a Scottish-wide event on bilingualism. Antonella also developed her knowledge transfer skills and sought sources of funding to allow Bilingualism Matters to develop further, in particular to support the franchising of Bilingualism matters in the Highlands and Islands, Italy and Greece.