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Manchester Urban Institute

Yaron Matras receives prestigious award

26 May 2017

Yaron Matras, Professor of Linguistics from the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures has been awarded one of four highly prestigious British Academy Wolfson Research Professorships for 2016/17 which provides funding of £165,000 over three years.

Selected from 100 submissions, Yaron, and the three other successful applicants, were chosen for the “outstanding quality of their research proposals, and for their achievements as scholars able to share the excitement of their work with a broad audience”.

Beginning in October 2017, Yaron will take extended research leave so that he can concentrate on furthering his research within Multilingual Manchester, where he is academic lead. He will assess the work of the project over the past seven years and develop what he calls a “new epistemology of urban multilingualism” which takes into account the role of various stakeholders in responding to language needs, among them the ‘civic university’.

Yaron said: “Multilingual Manchester was initially made possible thanks to a Social Responsibility in the Curriculum grant of £1,000. The Faculty of Humanities has continued to invest in the project and the research professorship I’ve been awarded is absolutely down to the collective effort of the many people involved in the scheme, both staff and students.

“For its size, Manchester is one of the most diverse cities, with some 200 languages spoken by a population of around half a million people. Understanding language needs, and planning language provision is key to delivering effective services, and respecting others’ linguistic and cultural heritage is as important to community cohesion as sharing a medium of communication. My professorship will allow me to build on Multilingual Manchester work over the past seven years, including our partnerships with local communities and service providers, and to make a contribution toward a popular and public appreciation of language diversity.”

Multilingual Manchester promotes awareness of language diversity in the city-region and beyond. Its academic staff study the practical challenges and the immense opportunities that language diversity brings.

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