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Expert in the spotlight 2009
Gabrielle Hogan-Brun

The expert in the Spotlight feature gives you the chance to interact one-on-one with our Ask the expert-section. The feature also provides interesting and insightful comments regarding the subjects mentioned above, in-depth content and exclusive Q and As.

Featured Expert / Area of focus:

Gabrielle Hogan-Brun works on migration, multilingualism, language policy and practices across Europe. She is Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, England.

In september 2016 Gabrielle has kindly updated the interview with new information.

Face to face with Gabrielle Hogan-Brun

What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages/education/ multilingualism?

With my Swiss background I strongly support multilingualism. I believe in the fundamental principle that language and cultural diversity are universal rights. In my work I have always supported marginalized language groups, be they indigenous, migrant or non-territorial groups, such as the Sign Language and Roma communities. I have sought ways for members to find a voice through publishing, inter alia my book series Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities, and in my co-editorship of the journal Current Issues in Language Planning.

What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?

The major challenge seems to be for countries to deal constructively with linguistic and cultural pluralism in an era of accelerated social mobility. Therefore in my work I operate from the premise that languages are an asset and a resource, rather than a barrier and a problem. I focus on the promotion of diversity through education, encourage a dialogue that is informed by knowledge about the diversity of traditions, cultures and historical development between nations, and interrogate issues relating to language, migration and citizenship. 

What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?

Globalization, the Web and an era of mass travel have combined to produce a world with a language mix on a huge scale. I am interested in the effect of this multilingualism on society, organizations and individuals. Natural questions to ask are: What are the economic benefits and drawbacks? Should we invest in multilingual skills? Should there be interventionist policies, and if so, at what level? Should there be a global language? The debate surrounding multilingualism is often clouded by misinformation or prejudice. I am working on an analysis that takes an objective look at this charged area. My forthcoming publication Linguanomics gives a clearer understanding of the market potential of multilingualism, its benefits, costs and points of contention. It asks significant questions of profound concern to the future of global collaboration.

Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?

 

Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?

I have had the pleasure of long-term contact and interaction with members of the Mercator group, particularly since being invited as Discussant to a Sign Language Workshop held at the 2007 Mercator conference in Pecs, Hungary.

What are your expectations of your involvement within the Mercator Network?

Knowledge sharing and collaboration. 

Do you have any questions on these topics?

Ask Gabrielle!

Featured topic:

Our focus this month lies on economic aspects of multilingualism.

Forthcoming publications:

  • Linguanomics. What is the Market Potential of Multilingualism? (Gabrielle Hogan-Brun, Bloomsbury; forthcoming 16 Dec. 2016)
  • Linguanomics is a factual exploration of the market potential of multilingualism and a journey into the potent emotional response this topic engenders.
  • Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities (eds Gabrielle Hogan-Brun & Bernadette O'Rourke; Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2018)
    The Handbook gives a state-of-the-field survey of minority languages and communities with chapters covering regional, non-territorial and migratory language settings across the world.