The Genius of Language Success Story


Our events took place between the 16th and the 20th of November 2014 in Canterbury city centre and the University of Kent campus and they were a great success!


Interactive exhibition:

 Excellent, thought provoking exhibition! – Misty, Canterbury

A fantastic workshop! I’ve learned a lot – Giselle, Brazil

Very interesting! My children and I enjoyed it very much – Sean, Ramsgate

What a fantastic idea! We thoroughly enjoyed it! – Beatrix, Canterbury

The interactive exhibition at The Beaney’s Learning Lab attracted a big number of visitors of all ages – it was particularly successful with young children – and it had games, interactive maps, on-screen presentations and poster presentations on themes such as the origins of language, learning language(s), language in the brain, illusions during the perception of language, the sounds of language, using language for communication, as well as the history of British English and the reasons it changes. Those who attended the special workshop on language and creativity (prepared by Jeremy Scott and Katherine May – run by Katherine May), which was held in parallel with the exhibition, discovered different ways of creating and expanding metaphors.

Public talk on bilingualism:

Prof. Antonella Sorace’s talk about “Why Bilingualism Matters” explained the benefits of bilingualism, while also dispersing some common misconceptions. The talk attracted a very diverse audience and the discussion with the speaker touched on a variety of extremely interesting as well as topical subjects, such as the cognitive effects of bilingualism and bilingual education policies.

We received some excellent feedback from the audience, pointing out how engaging the talk and question session was, as well as the speaker’s ability to transmit her enthusiasm about the topic of bilingualism.


Film screenings:

The Gulbenkian cinema was fully booked for both of the free movie screenings that were organised for “The Genius of Language”: “The Linguists” (on Tuesday the 18th) and “Is the man who is tall happy” (an interview with Noam Chomsky, on Thursday the 20th). Both Q&A sessions following each movie gave rise to stimulating discussions between the audience and members of the Department of English Language and Linguistics.

In their feedback for “The Linguists”, members of the audience expressed their excitement about the topic of the preservation of endangered languages, while at the same time pointing out that the film was simultaneously very informative and entertaining. The audience saw “Is the man who is tall happy?” as a great opportunity to find out more about the life and thoughts of Noam Chomsky, while also enjoying some visually impressive artwork.


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