The Linguist

The Linguist 59,6 - December-January 2021

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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@Linguist_CIOL DECEMBER/JANUARY The Linguist 21 FEATURES phases: pre-task, during-task and post-task. The pre-task in Linguacuisine involves gathering the equipment and ingredients, and learning them as vocabulary items. The during-task involves carrying out the cooking, making use of a wide range of support from the app, the kitchen context and pair work. The post-task involves evaluating the food by eating it, as well as evaluating and reflecting on what has been learnt in terms of language. Our research showed that the method is successful for learning vocabulary. 4 We tested 50 learners of English on 16 words. The mean of 8.51 in the pre-intervention test rose to 12.24 in the post-intervention test, showing a significant gain. We found that people learn foreign words better when they are physically touching food and cooking utensils, and using them to prepare food, compared to looking at photos of the objects. 5 When you are cooking, you involve all of your senses in the learning experience – touch, smell and taste, as well as hearing and seeing – delivering a vivid, kinesic language-learning experience. Project origins So how did Linguacuisine come about? Twelve years ago, my colleagues and I in the language school were looking at technology produced by our counterparts in Computing Science. We tried out the Ambient Kitchen, designed to assist people with early-stage dementia with their cooking. Digital sensors detect the ingredients in the kitchen, find an internet recipe which uses them and assist users in following it, detecting their activity and giving feedback. This can help a person to continue cooking for themselves at home rather than going into care. We immediately saw that the concept could be adapted to language learning: a) to maximise the links between language, culture and cuisine; b) to take the sound principles developed in task-based learning out of the classroom and into the kitchen; and c) to give learners a motivating and enjoyable physical task with a tasty product. The first generations of technology used digital sensors to detect actions, and the third generation is an app. Sustainable future Linguacuisine's recipe builder software enables people to add cuisine from their native countries in their own languages, so that people all over the world can learn from them. A video tutorial takes you through the process, which can be done in your own kitchen with a tablet or smartphone. The software can be used by teachers to input their own recipes so that their students can learn specific language points. The 'extras' facility allows uploads of additional cultural or language teaching materials. There is even an annual competition (LinguaChef) for the best language-learning recipe, with a £200 prize. The infrastructure has been set up so that any number of new recipes can be added in any language, dialect, region or country. Our long-term aim is to build a bank of language- learning recipes from as many languages, cultures and cuisines as possible, promoting cross-cultural understanding and communication. Linguacuisine has been used by more than 9,000 people in 83 countries, and been selected by HundrED as "one of the world's most inspiring innovations in bilingual education". In terms of future directions, the same technological and TBLT principles can be applied to cultural activities other than cooking to promote language learning. Therefore, in early 2021 we will be releasing the new app ENACT ( for creating and using cultural tasks for language learning, such as dancing, embroidery and origami. Notes 1 The Linguacuisine project ( was financed by a €324,000 Erasmus+ grant in 2016-18 2 With partner organisations the Hellenic Open University, Workers Educational Association, University of Modena and Reggio-Emilia, and Action Foundation 3 Ellis, R (2003) Task-based Language Learning and Teaching, Oxford, Oxford University Press 4 Seedhouse, P (2017) Task-based Language Learning in a Real-World Digital Environment: The European digital kitchen, London, Bloomsbury 5 Park, J and Seedhouse, P (2017) 'Sight and Touch in Vocabulary Learning: The Korean digital kitchen'. In Ibid. IN THE KITCHEN Students model how Linguacuisine works

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