Last Saturday, I had the chance to participate in the multilingualism event at the Weston Park museum, which was organised by the British science association in collaboration with the society of Spanish researchers in the UK and the University of Sheffield. In addition to engaging and inspiring young children through hands-on activities, one principal objective of the event was to make the general public aware of the many benefits of being multilingual. Representing our lab, I carried out a short working memory experiment with the help of Alex Wolf from the Department of Chemistry. We asked people to do the memory task twice: the first time, rehearsing the items in their second language and the second time in their native language. The idea was to show them that working memory performance depends on language since they will tend to memorise things better when rehearsing with their first language. We also screened a short video giving tips on language learning, which was made by colleagues from the Languages and Cultures School.
Personally, I was amazed to see people of different ages and background craving to learn new things and to engage with the science. I also enjoyed discussing and sharing funny stories about language with different people. I even had the chance to learn some basics about the Chinese writing system!