MULTILINGUALISM & LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY (2008-2018)
MIME (Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual Europe)
This research project on multilingualism in Europe has been funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. The three partners executing the project (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Sciences Po Paris, and Magyar Tudományos Akadémia) have designed an interdisciplinary approach to ultimately generate an organised body of policy-relevant propositions, identifying the language policies and strategies that best combine “mobility” and “inclusion.” The diverse concepts and methods are combined in an analytical framework designed to ensure their practice-oriented integration. MIME identifies, assesses and recommends measures for the management of trade-offs between the potentially conflicting goals of mobility and inclusion in a multilingual Europe. Rather than taking existing trade-offs as a given, MIME partners believe that these can be modified, both in symbolic and in material/financial terms, and they argue that this objective can best be achieved through carefully designed public policies and the intelligent use of dynamics in civil society. The project’s thematic areas (Politics, Society, Education, Mediation, Policy and Frontiers of Multilingualism) are organized with sets of interconnections. The project has been operating with the help of a consortium of 20 universities from different parts of Europe.
ELIDIA (European Language Diversity for all)
The ELDIA Project and Consortium, which has been by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme, constitutes a multidisciplinary effort to revitalize minority language, vehicular language and language maintenance studies.
The European linguistic landscape is experiencing a profound transformation. Innovations and changes in language policies, education, migration patterns etc. challenge and change the roles and functions of languages within and between states, ethnic groups and nations. ELDIA attempts, through this interdisciplinary research project, to reconceptualise, promote and re-evaluate individual and societal multilingualism. Applied linguists and sociolinguists, professionals working in law, social studies and statistics, drawn from eight universities in six European countries, have been working together to contribute to a better understanding of how local, “national” and “international” (vehicular) languages interact in contemporary Europe. The empirical research will be conducted with a selected sample of multilingual communities, which is to cover practically the whole spectrum of different political and socioeconomic circumstances of linguistic minorities in Europe (smaller and more numerous, autochthonous or migrant communities, vigorous and endangered, highly or weakly standardized languages etc.). All these minority languages belong to the Finno-Ugric language family which is seriously underrepresented in internationally accessible sociolinguistic literature. The results of the research project, however, are to be generalizable, contributing to the study of multilingualism and the development of language policies in other multilingual contexts as well, in and outside Europe. Moreover, the project is developing a systematic and generalizable way of describing, measuring and evaluating the effects of the changing balances between European languages, by creating a commensurable and easily applicable instrument, the European Language Vitality Barometer (EuLaViBar). With this “toolbox”, it may be possible to analyze situations which involve a) linguistic diversity, b) wide use of different types of vehicular languages in different contexts, and c) questions of language vitality, maintenance and endangerment. Furthermore, we will develop a general and testable model of the European practices of using vehicular languages in international, intra-national and regional settings.
DYLAN (Language Dynamics & Management of Diversity)
This five-year research project (2006-2011), which was funded by the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme, involved 20 research institutions in 12 European countries. It sought to identify the conditions under which Europe’s linguistic diversity can be an asset for the development of knowledge and economy rather than a drawback. Its goal was to investigate how different modes of thought, argumentation and action, which are themselves linked to different languages, partake in the development and transmission of knowledge, and what role they play in the control of interactions, problem solving and decision making. The project aimed to provide scientific backing to the concept of multilingual repertoires as resources that can be put to use in a variety of professional, political and educational contexts.
The project assessed and compared competing communication scenarios in various professional and institutional settings in order to identify their respective advantages and drawbacks, as well as their relative efficiency and fairness. Research results were supposed to serve as a benchmark for a better understanding of complex processes in which key aspects of language learning and communicational practices are combined with a view to making recommendations for more robust and systematic language policies.
The empirical work took place on three terrains that have particular relevance for the management of multilingualism in Europe, namely, companies, EU institutions, and educational systems.
LINEE (Languages in a Network of European Excellence)
LINEE, a project co-funded by the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission and coordinated by the University of Bern, started in 2006 and though the funding ended by November 2010, work related to the project by the academics involved continued until 2015. LINEE involved 9 European universities and around 80 researchers. It addressed linguistic diversity in Europe, namely in four thematic areas: 1) Language, Identity and Culture, 2) Language Policy and Planning, 3) Multilingualism and Education and 4) Language and Economy. Click here for the Final summary report presenting a synthesis of the major project findings.
The project aimed to produce coherent, innovative research results by an interdisciplinary approach, integrate knowledge of partner universities, establish a durable, innovative scientific network, reassess traditional research, and raise the visibility of linguistic diversity in Europe as a key issue in European integration. At http://linee.info/linee/home2.html?PHPSESSID=f994c64d5bd00a1f530c2be8a3ff330b –a still active website– one can find among other information: Newsletters with research results, Research Brief for Stakeholders, Research Reports (per thematic area and per level of analysis), Position Papers at European Level, at National Level at Regional/Local Level, and Position Papers on theoretical and methodological issues, as well as a list of Publications.
An extensive overview of the LINEE project, focusing particularly on the work conducted by the Prague team, published in the Czech Linguistic Newsletter (Jazykovedne aktuality XLV, 2008, Issue 3&4, pp.111-131) and List of publications.
LUCIDE (Languages in Urban Communities – Integration and Diversity for Europe)
LUCIDE is a network which was funded by the European Commission Lifelong Learning Prograrmme (2011- 2014) to develop ideas about how to manage multilingual citizen communities. Their work was to develop a picture of how communication occurs in multilingual settings across the EU and beyond, aiming to help institutions (councils, schools, hospitals) and local and national economies make better productive use of diversity as an economic resource and to strengthen social cohesion by fostering better communication and mutual understanding. The project also wanted to understand better how the cultural richness of these new cities can strengthen the “diverse unity “of the 21st century.
In concrete terms LUCIDE undertook research, offered seminars and workshops and developed guidelines for multilingual cities relating to:
- Education – language learning and language support
- The public sphere – how the city supports democratic engagement
- Economic life – the benefits of multilingualism and the requirements
- The private sphere – how people behave and interrelate and celebrate
- The urban space – the appearance and sounds of the city
The LUCIDE partnership included 16 partners already active in the domain of multilingualism within urban contexts, at both University and City level, and in a range of city types. It included cities which have long traditions of multilingualism as well as those for whom this is relatively new. It is said to have been supported by many associate partners, including major associations and city authorities.
LETPP (Languages in Europe – Theory Policy & Practice)
The LUCIDE project was an outcome of the LETPP project that was funded by the EU Lifelong Learning programme (2009-2010) and executed by the Languages Company in collaboration with the London School of Economics. Its key conclusion was the idea that the multilingual city would be both the driver of change and a test bed for future progress.
The LETPP project discussed the conditions which favour policies on Multilingualism and the obstacles to their success, looking in particular at two issues: 1) Languages and Social Cohesion, and 2) Languages and Intercultural Communication/Employability.
Click here to see the Analysis and Proposals from the LETPP Consultation and Review.