What is Mother Tongues?

Mother Tongues is a non-for profit organization aimed at promoting multilingualism in Ireland and globally. We work with schools, families, community groups and artists through a range of activities that allow children to experience language in new and exciting ways outside the home environment.

We believe that parents and educators need to learn about bilingualism (and plurilingualism), children need to experience their heritage language and communities need to come together and enjoy linguistic diversity.

Raising bilingual children in Ireland - talk

LEARN about bilingualism

We offer talks and short courses on bilingual language development, providing families with the tools they need to successfully raise children with two or more languages. We know that sometimes parents find it hard to maintain their language in Ireland because children have little or no opportunity to use it. We also support and train professionals who work closely with plurilingual children and families. 

EXPERIENCE heritage languages

All our projects aim to give children the opportunity to experience their heritage language through meet ups, storytelling sessions and creative activities.

ENJOY linguistic diversity

We encourage school children and teachers to learn more about linguistic diversity and bilingualism through our Language Explorers programme.
Our yearly arts Festival celebrates UNESCO International Mother Language Day by offering a rich artistic programme in more than 20 different languages for everyone to enjoy.
Mother Tongues is a branch of Conradh na Gaeilge.

Our team

Francesca La Morgia

Director

Francesca is the founder and director of Mother Tongues.
She has been working as a lecturer in child language development since 2010 both in Ireland and in the UK. She is currently lecturing in linguistics at Ulster University and in the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education in Maynooth.
Since 2006, her research has focused on child language development and bilingualism. She has been running workshops for bilingual families, teachers and other professionals for more than 10 years.

elena cristofanon

Elena Cristofanon

Executive officer

Elena always believed that language is vital to express our true selves. Since she moved to Dublin from Rome in 2014, that became an issue even more important to her, as she found herself struggling with the barrier of truly express her ideas and passions in a language she didn’t fully control. One year later she decided to learn Spanish (for love) and also started teaching Italian to Irish people. At that point, she realized how much bilingualism and multilingualism can shape and change people minds.
With an academic background in art history, a master in Standards for education in museums and her skills in graphic and web design she supports the creative side of Mother Tongues.

Board of Directors

David MacHale_Ciorcal

David MacHale

David is a Marketing and Brand Director with experience working with startups through to multinational companies. He helps organisations differentiate their brand and engage with audiences across traditional and digital channels. He has previously worked in marketing roles with Oracle-Micros software, Tokheim fuel retailing, and Olive learning and media. Today, David is Senior Brand Director for Travelport, a global travel technology business, Winner of 2019 Spiders Award, 2018 Irish Content Marketing Award, and nominated for 2020 All Ireland Marketing (AIM) Awards. He is passionate about culture, design, and data.

Shauna McDaniel

Shauna McDaniel

Shauna is a driven and passionate sales leader with 7+ years of sales experience within the Tech industry. Her expertise lies in managing multi-cultural, multi-talented sales professionals. In her spare time, she is currently completing a Masters in Business (Leadership & Management Practices) at Smurfit Business School in UCD. She hopes that her previous learnings of Cultural Studies and Linguistics, combined with her in-depth knowledge of business development, digital marketing and strategy, will enable her to offer expert guidance in these areas on the Mother Tongues board. As a diversity advocate, she is so excited to be a part of the growth in multilingualism in Ireland.

Salvo Cacciato

Salvo Cacciato

Salvo moved to Ireland from Sicily in 2003. He completed a Masters degree in the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures of Catania and his Masters thesis was on Bilingualism and Early Language Learning. He is a teacher of French and Italian at secondary level in Ireland. He is currently seconded as Modern Foreign Languages Advisor with JCT. He is also the Chairperson of the Association of Teachers of Italian in Ireland (ATI). He has a passion for researching digital learning technologies applied to language learning and a firm believer in multilingualism as a way to learn about cultures and opening to tolerance.

Tarisai Chidawanyika

Tarisai was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Ireland when she was 12. She can happily say both Zimbabwe and Ireland raised me. Her mother tongue is Shona. She studied Law and will be qualified as a lawyer on 29 November 2020. She is passionate about all things diversity and inclusion. Her main skills include presentation and written and verbal communication. She loves languages and she is constantly in awe of multilingual people. She moved to France a few years ago to learn French, but unfortunately she lost her French so she is hoping to pick it up. She is excited to be a part of Mother Tongues!

Phaedra Vlahos

Phaedra Vlahos

Phaedra is Greek but grew up in Ireland. She is an artist and works for the Dublin Simon Community. Her passion is art and philanthropy and she has recently been one of the organisers of Dublin Simon’s annual art event called Scrappy But Happy, and has put together a virtual gallery display which she sees as being the current future of art shows under lockdown. Phaedra wants to offer her support and knowledge for the Mother Tongues cause as it ties in – not only to her personal ethos – but to her professional passions

aga_pedrak

Agnieszka Pedrak

Aga is currently a PhD student of Trinity College Dublin (School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences) where she is doing research on Polish as a heritage language in Ireland. Before coming to Ireland, she studied in Poland and Germany to complete her MA in Linguistics & Communication and her BA in English (interpreting and translation). Since 2016, she has been working as a Polish language teacher in Polish supplementary schools in Ireland, and has recently also delivered online language teaching. Agnieszka has been involved with Mother Tongues since 2017 and among other initiatives, she has been working on the organisation of the annual Heritage Language Education Conference for the last 3 years. Privately, she is a mum raising her daughter with Polish and English and she runs a blog about bilingualism for Polish families worldwide:

Wuraola Majekodunmi

Wuraola Majekodunmi

Ola is a broadcaster, filmmaker, and Irish-language activist. Raised in Dublin and born in Lagos, Nigeria, Ola attended Gaelscoil Lios na nÓg and Coláiste Íosagáin. She began working with Raidió na Life in 2014 and now presents Afra-Éire on the Irish-language station. She features as a guest speaker on other radio stations such as RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, RTÉ 2FM, and RTÉ 2XM and took part in the Pantisocracy programme on RTÉ One with Panti. She contributes to the Motherfoclóir podcast and was nominated for the SMEDIAS for the category Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge. She studied English, Media and Cultural Studies and then completed her MA in Digital Broadcast Production in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT). She directed her first visual documentary – What Does “Irishness” Look Like? – in 2018 and is a co-founder of Beyond Representation

Síne Nic an Ail

Síne Nic an Ailí

Síne is a lover of languages, a former Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA), and a passionate Irish speaker. She has extensive experience in grassroots advocacy, cultural diplomacy, facilitation, community outreach, education, and communications. As director of Cultúr Club, she developed Irish-language and -culture resources to strengthen a sense of Irish identity among children of the diaspora. She has worked with other lesser used language communities around the world in a bid to share experiences in language activism and education. She is currently helping Mother Tongues formulate a long-term strategic vision for multilingualism in Ireland, and aims to help new communities integrate into society by sharing Irish language and culture.

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