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Leading expert on bilingualism to speak at Northwestern

Judith Kroll to discuss consequences of bilingualism for society

EVANSTON - Judith Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Women’s studies at University of California, Riverside and one of the leading experts on bilingualism, has been selected as this year’s Distinguished Lecturer in Multilingualism and Language Learning.

She will present “Consequences of Bilingualism For Mind, Brain and Society at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Northwestern University.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Louis Room, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive on the Evanston campus.

In addition to Kroll’s presentation, a panel of Northwestern faculty will discuss her work. The panel will bring together faculty in the language departments: Brian Edwards, professor of English and Crown Professor in Middle East Studies and Franziska Lys, professor of German, as well as Ann Bradlow, professor of linguistics, working in the science of language.

The use of two or more languages is common in most places in the world. Yet, until recently, bilingualism was considered to be a complicating factor for language learning, listening and speaking fluently, as well as having adverse impacts on the brain.

Over the past 20 years, this view has been challenged by a flourishing of research into bilingualism. This work has carefully examined how we learn second languages and the resulting consequences this learning has for the mind and brain throughout our entire life. This has revealed how multiple languages become part of an integrated language system, providing new opportunities for a deeper understanding of how we process language.

In Kroll’s talk, she will illustrate this approach and consider the consequences that bilingualism holds more generally for society, when language learning and active bilingualism are encouraged.

No tickets or reservations required. A reception will follow the discussion.