Our Healthy Linguistic Diet (HLD) approach is based on an analogy between physical and mental health. Regular physical activity and a healthy diet are important factors in maintaining physical health. In the same way, the learning of languages and their regular use provide essential mental exercise, leading to a better brain health and an increase in “cognitive reserve” resulting in a later onset of dementia and an improved cognitive outcome after a stroke.

Our Mission

Our mission is to initiate and facilitate a shift in thinking about learning another language/other languages as a key skill or an academic subject, to understanding that using two languages is a key ingredient in our cognitive development and well-being.

We advocate an approach with the focus on developing life-long habits of learning and using at least two, ideally three or more, languages, based on awareness that these type of activities will help us equip our brains for enhanced cognitive functioning from early years to advanced age. These habits will result in better focus during early childhood, superior educational attainment and improved quality of intellectual life in adulthood and advanced age.

An important part of our mission is to reach out to children, parents, communities with accessible knowledge on cognitive benefits of bilingualism. Our goal is to make benefits of using two languages as widely known as the health guidance: two litres of water a day!

About us

Meet the team

Dr Dina Mehmedbegovic-Smith

Dina is a lecturer on a range of UCL Institute of Education (IOE) courses at PGCE, MA and doctoral level. She was on the core IOE team developing the National English as an Additional Language (EAL) Workforce Strategy; a key staff member in the development of the new programmes addressing the needs of bilingual children: MA in Bilingual Learners in Urban Settings and PGCE EAL Pathway. More

Dr Thomas H Bak

Dr. Bak is Reader in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, clinical research fellow in the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and Co-Director of Bilingualism Matters. He is also the strand leader of Strand 6 (“Multilingualism, cognition, health and wellbeing”) of the AHRC Project “Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies” (MEITS). More

Latest publications

Engaging with Linguistic Diversity in Global Cities: Arguing for ‘Language Hierarchy Free’ Policy and Practice in Education

  • Mehmedbegovic, D (2017)
  • Open Linguistics 3(1)
  • DOI: 10.1515/opli-2017-0027

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Healthy Linguistic Diet: the value of linguistic diversity and language learning across the lifespan

  • Bak, TH and Mehmedbegovic D (2017)
  • Language, Society and Policy, Vol 1. DOI: doi:10.17863/CAM.9854.

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Towards an interdisciplinary lifetime approach to multilingualism: From implicit assumptions to current evidence

  • Mehmedbegovic, D and Bak, TH (2017)
  • European Journal of Language Policy, Vol. 9, Issue 2: Pages, (149-167 pp)

More