The German government will contribute 10 million euros in 2013 to the endowment fund that supports the Minerva Centers of the Minerva Foundation – the first agency established by the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research with the sole purpose of funding high-quality research in Israel and stimulating scientific cooperation in the two countries. The foundation, part of the Max Planck Association, has over the years established 30 centers at Israeli universities where both German and Israeli scientists work together in all fields of research.

The German announcement of the allocation was made at the recent opening of the first Minerva German-Israeli Science Festival at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The festival, which showcased the accomplishments of Minerva Centers and presented new centers to the public, was produced with the assistance of HU’s Harry S Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

HU president Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson opened the festival by telling Israeli and visiting German ministers, “You were right to come to this place to open this festival. The beginning of the State of Israel was here, in 1918, when the cornerstone of the Hebrew University was laid. Just 30 years later the State of Israel was declared – one of the few countries where the university was established even before the state.” He added, “Make sure that education is at the forefront of the country’s strategy. The most important thing is the next generation – the children who are now in elementary school. We have an obligation to expose them to basic science.”

“The research the centers carry out is at the cutting edge of science, and the continuation and renewal of the Minerva Centers is of mutual interest to both Israel and Germany,” Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said. His German counterpart, Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr.

Annette Schavan, said, “The Hebrew University has brought forth world-acclaimed scientists and researchers inspiring amazing research... Minerva Centers represent the earliest cooperation between our states, and these scientific relations allowed the creation of trust and the growth of diplomatic relations.” She added, “We have to offer young people attractive lives and work in research in both Germany and Israel.”

Science and Technology Minister Dr. Daniel Herschkowitz said, “The opening of this festival comes in the context of the blooming relationship between Germany and Israel. The language of science bridges gaps and differences between nations and native languages, and that is the path to advancing peace and friendship not just between two countries but the whole world.”

Language switching shows emotion

On the classic American TV show I Love Lucy, Ricky Ricardo was known for switching into rapid-fire Spanish whenever he was upset, even though Lucy had no idea what her Cuban husband was saying. These scenes were comedy gold, but they also portrayed the linguistic phenomenon of code-switching. Israeli English-speakers are very familiar with this kind of switching back and forth between languages.

In a recent article in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, psychologists Stephen Chen and Qing Zhou of the University of California, Berkeley and Morgan Kennedy of Bard College delve deeper into this linguistic phenomenon.

They propose that the particular language parents choose to use when discussing and expressing emotion can have significant impacts on children’s emotional understanding, experience and regulation.

“Over the past few years, there’s been a steadily growing interest in the languages multilingual individuals use to express emotions,” writes Chen.

“We were interested in the potential clinical and developmental implications of emotion-related language shifts, particularly within the context of the family.”

Existing research from psychological science underscores the fact that language plays a key role in emotion because it allows the speakers to articulate, conceal or discuss feelings. When parents verbally express their emotions, they contribute to their children’s emotional development by providing them with a model of how emotions can be articulated and regulated.

When parents discuss emotion, they help their children to accurately label and consequently understand their own emotions, and this explicit instruction can further help children to better regulate their emotions. Additionally, research from linguistics suggests that when bilingual individuals switch languages, the way they experience emotions changes as well. Bilingual parents may use a specific language to express an emotional concept because they feel that language provides a better cultural context for expressing the emotion. For example, a native Finnish-speaker may be more likely to use English to tell her children that she loves them because it is uncommon to explicitly express emotions in Finnish.

Thus, the language that a parent chooses to express a particular concept can help to provide cues that reveal his or her emotional state. Shifting from one language to another may help children to regulate their emotional response by using a less emotional, non-native language as a way to decrease negative arousal, or to help model culture- specific emotional regulation.

Overall, the authors argue that research from psychological science and linguistics suggests that a child’s emotional competence is fundamentally shaped by a multilingual environment. These findings may be particularly useful in the development of intervention programs for immigrant families, helping intervention staff to be aware of how the use of different languages in various contexts can have an emotional impact, the authors suggested.

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