New funding for research to support reading in a foreign language

Dr Petar Milin and Professor Dagmar Divjak have been awarded the internal IGI and IAS "High-risk, High-reward" grant for the College of Arts and Law (award: £9,150) for the project “Making the most of what meets the eye(s): Optimizing reading in a foreign language“. 

The overarching aim of the project is to propose novel techniques for boosting the efficacy of reading in a foreign language. Identifying ways of correcting suboptimal reading habits to improve foreign language reading has important real-world impact, both at the level of the individual and ta the level of society.  

First, research shows that incidental exposure to written texts can do more to improve one’s lexical knowledge than instructional programs for teaching vocabulary. In other words, being able to read in a foreign language contributes drastically to the learning of that language. Second, many contexts in which language learners find themselves require them to interact with written texts in order to succeed. But even foreign students who meet the language criteria for university study are slower in processing the language and show more limited comprehension, which limits what they can achieve. Improving the reading fluency of foreign learners of English, and of English learners of a Modern Foreign Language, will be hugely beneficial to the students, the academic institutions and the UK as a nation. 

This research puts CAL and LCAHM in particular on the map as one of the leaders of MFL innovation globally. This is in line with the College’s investment in Modern Foreign Language learning in general and with its strategic investment in English as Modern Foreign Language more specifically.