City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Multilingualism, Cognition and Creativity
Professor Hugo Baetens Beardsmore
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Date: 22 June 2009, Monday
Time: 4:30 – 6:00pm
Venue: B7603 (Lift 3, 7/F, Blue Zone), Academic Building, CityU
This is an introductory presentation which forms part of a study carried out by a team commissioned by the European Union on “The Contribution of Multilingualism to Creativity” for the European Year of Creativity. It represents a synthesis of research within the field of education which reveals certain advantages bilinguals manifest in comparison with unilingual controls on creative thinking, communicative sensitivity, metalinguistic skills, self-regulatory mechanisms and perceptive skills. An overview is presented of recent research in bilingual education which reveals different strategies used by monolinguals and bilinguals in mathematical operations as well as in other non-linguistic content-matter subjects, with surprising counter-intuitive results in the more cognitively demanding activities. Only in argumentative texts of a plausible but not rigorously constructed type is there an advantage in the stronger L1, revealing the significance of approximate semantic impressions in cognitive operations.
Hugo Baetens Beardsmore is Emeritus Professor of English and Bilingualism at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and of the Sociology of Language at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He is also a member of the Belgian Académie Royale des Sciences d'Outre-Mer. He has worked as an expert consultant on issues connected with bilingualism, bilingual education and language planning for the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the Singapore, Hong Kong and Brunei ministries of education, as well as the Basque, Catalan, State of California and Canadian government authorities. For the Council of Europe he has worked as an expert on the Language Education Policy Profiles for the Irish Republic and the Val d'Aoste Region of Italy. Most of his publications cover linguistic, educational, sociolinguistic and sociological questions connected with bilingualism. Most recent publication : Garcia, Ofelia (with contributions by Hugo Baetens Beardsmore), 2009 Bilingual Education in the 21st Century – A Global Perspective, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell.
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