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Current projects

Multilingualism in individuals

This area of research deals with the simultaneous or successive acquisition of several languages (first, second and third languages) in various age groups and in varying demographic sectors – including the immigrant population. Through longitudinal empirical studies, researchers will shed light on the factors that influence the development of individual language competence.

Direction: Prof. Raphael Berthele

The potential to learn foreign languages varies from one individual to the next and has been investigated by many researchers as of the early 1950s. Individuals’ ability...

In the project “Multilingual Production by Children and Professionals in Playgroups” (Mehrsprachige Praktiken von Kindern und Fachpersonen in Spielgruppen, MePraS) a typology of multilingual...

This research overview focuses on differences between individuals when it comes to results in learning foreign languages in school. The aim is to identify and discuss...

Swiss National Science Foundation, Project funding, project no. 156121, 2014 - 2017

In the past 30 years, research on the linguistic expression of spatial relations has shed light on...

This project aims to describe the development of productive writing skills in children with a Portuguese immigration background living in Switzerland (in the language of...

Teaching and learning languages, assessing and evaluating language skills

Research in this area focuses on developing, diagnosing and guiding multilingual and pluricultural competences. It addresses three main issues: first, language acquisition in its non-guided, guided (classroom) and autonomous forms; second, the didactics of second languages and multilingualism including key aspects such as teaching and learning objectives, curricula and syllabuses as well as methods of teaching and learning languages; and third, the assessment of language competence and the evaluation of language programmes.

Direction: Prof. Thomas Studer

This project aims at documenting and discussing the conditions for implementing bilingual teaching at primary school level based on two main issues:

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Current approaches to foreign language teaching and learning focus strongly on language in use. The overarching aim is communicative competence, a consequence of, mainly...

This project explores the possibilities and limits of implementing multilingual teaching approaches in the foreign language classroom in primary and secondary schools. The objective is to acquire...

The aim of the current project it to evaluate the learning impact of an age-appropriate, feasible exchange setting (two short, direct interactions embedded in contact via e-mail and video) at the...

In foreign language classes, when summative assessments are selected to test how well learners can actually use the foreign language, the method of choice is the so-called competence or action-...

Despite the acknowledged benefit of language (and cultural) exchange at all school levels, the promotion of this instrument has had limited impact on exchanges actually conducted. The organisation...

Multilingualism in institutions and society

This area addresses social and institutional issues in multilingualism. Investigation focuses on schools, the workplace, cultural and political institutions, language policy and the law. Adopting a sociological and anthropological approach, the research examines societal processes of valorising or devaluing certain languages and their speakers as well as power issues in linguistic communities, social inequalities and the impact of globalisation on multilingual practices.

Direction: Prof. Alexandre Duchêne

This project aims to present a socio-historical reconstruction of the processes, characteristics and modalities that the Italian language (in its varieties) has undergone...

Swiss National Science Foundation, project funding, project no. 159852

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The purpose of this project is to conduct a detailed analysis on language census issues in Switzerland since the 19th century and to better understand the...

The directors of the roughly seventy administrative units at the Swiss Federal Administration are responsible for ensuring that the prevailing rules regarding linguistic...

This literature review aims to present an overview of scientific research on the social, political and linguistic issues of language census by analysing international...