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Public events

Festival of Ideas 2015


Forthcoming language-related talks and events

Tuesday 27 October

Born communicators? Linguistics, pragmatics and child development


Faculty of English, GR05, 9 West Road, CB3 9DP

How do children come to grasp irony, metaphor, implicated meaning and more besides? Elspeth Wilson, an experimental pragmatician, explores what we know about how children learn to communicate.


Friday 30 October



Alliance Française, 60 Hills Road, CB2 1LA

Join us for a screening of Alejandro Iñárritu’s Babel – told through four interlocking stories, this movie explores the complex and sometimes tragic pictures of human lives around the globe. It suggests that, in the end, we are not all that different and highlights the relevance of languages to mutual understanding.


Saturday 31 October

The great British dialects quiz


Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, CB1 1PT

How good are you are at recognising British accents? Find out what the least- or most-preferred dialects are as well as why we speak the way we do.

Growing up with more than one language CBNlogo


Faculty of English, GR06/07, 9 West Road, CB3 9DP

Many children grow up in a rich and complex language context: parents who speak different languages, a home language different from the school and the society language. What are bilinguals capable of? Talks, discussion and refreshments.

Bookings will open at 10.30 am on Monday 21 September. Contact Dr Teresa Parodi,, 01223 767387 


Festival of Ideas 2014

These are just two of the language-related talks at last year's Festival of Ideas


Professor Usha Goswami (Centre for Neuroscience in Education) presents her latest research findings on dyslexia (starts 26 minutes in).



Dr Claire Dembry of Cambridge University Press and Robbie Love (Lancaster University) present fascinating insights from a new project to compile a publicly-accessible database of spoken British English. How has British English changed since the last time a similar project was carried out in the 1990s?  Find out how you can get involved by contributing recordings to the project.




For more audio recordings from this year's Festival, visit 



Now Hear This!

Cambridge Science Centre, March 2014

Dr Matt Davis and Professor Sarah Hawkins were among the researchers taking part in this public event at the Cambridge Science Centre on the science of hearing.