Bilingualism Matters at UCR

Learning and using more than one language has many benefits, but there are also misconceptions about what it means to be bilingual. Some believe that exposing infants to more than one language will confuse them and harm their development or that it is impossible to fully learn a new language as an adult. The new research on language learning and bilingualism shows that these misconceptions are false. Bilingualism changes the minds and brains of babies in ways that produce greater cognitive flexibility and openness to new learning. Adults are also far more open to new language learning than we previously understood. New findings on older adults suggest that lifelong bilingualism may protect them against the cognitive declines that individuals experience normally as they age and also against the symptoms of dementia. How can we better communicate the excitement of these new findings?

Bilingualism Matters began as a public information service at the University of Edinburgh in 2008, in response to a lack of information about bilingualism in the community. In October, 2017, Bilingualism Matters at UCR will launch a new branch to bring together researchers at UCR and elsewhere with the linguistically and culturally diverse community in Southern California. Many of us at UCR study bilingualism and language learning and the university community itself is overwhelmingly bilingual. Yet there are few opportunities to bridge the experience of the community with our research. Our branch of Bilingualism Matters will provide a context for creating a conversation between those conducting research on bilingualism and members of the community.

On October 5, 2017, we will launch a new chapter of Bilingualism Matters at UCR. Professor Antonella Sorace, founder of Bilingualism Matters at the University of Edinburgh, will visit UCR to conduct a day of training. The training will include background for everyone on research on bilingualism and a discussion of how best to share the research and to participate in community engagement. We invite the participation from the entire UCR and larger Southern Californian communities.

Upcoming Events

October 3, 2017 – Knowing a second language affects the native language (in good ways)

A talk with Paola Giuli Dussias, Professor of Spanish, Linguistics, and Psychology, and Head of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at Pennsylvania State University.

October 5, 2017 – Bilingualism Matters Workshop

Pre-conference training workshop lead by Antonella Sorace, University of Edinburgh and Bilingualism Matters, including sessions on “Bilingualism over the lifespan” and “The Bilingualism Matters experience in Scotland, Europe, and the US.”

October 6, 2017 – Bilingualism Matters Conference

A research conference around the launch of Bilingualism Matters at UCR – Multilingualism research in Southern California: Cross-disciplinary perspectives to dual language experience.


Judith Kroll, Psychology
Cova Lamar-Prieto, Hispanic Studies
Christine Chiarello, Psychology
Hyejin Nah, Anthropology
Vrinda Chidambaram, Comparative Literature
Liz Davis, Psychology

To learn more about Bilingualism Matters, visit their website or email