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November 2007: Mercator looks back on a successful seminar on Basque education

The Mercator Research Centre, part of the Fryske Akademy, organised a two-day European seminar on the developments in Basque education and the challenges of multilingual education in Ljouwert last week. Participants were researchers, policymakers, and education professionals from more than twenty different European countries and regions.

The seminar did not only address multilingual education, but also extracurricular activities that may reinforce smaller languages. Apart from that, on Thursday November 8, the participants visited multilingual schools (English, Frisian, and Dutch) in order to share and exchange knowledge and experiences. This has led to many positive reactions and the first contacts for exchanges between the Basques and the Frisians have already been made.

The education system in the Basque Country is being reformed. The old system with either Basque schools with a little Spanish (model D) or Spanish schools with a little Basque (model A) is not sufficient anymore. Instead the Ministry of Education in the Basque Autonomous Region would like to switch to a model geared to the practice of each school in which three languages can flourish; the smaller language in particular: Basque, but also English and Spanish. The trilingual schools in Fryslân have the same aim, but operate in a different way.

The conference is part of the cooperation between the Mercator Research Centre and the Ministry of Education in the Basque Autonomous Region. The funds that the Mercator Research Centre will receive from the Basques in the coming years will among other things be used for a research project into the added value of multilingual education in the Basque Country and in Fryslân. This seminar is one of the four major activities through which the Mercator Research Centre takes stock of the possibilities and needs for intensification of multilingual education in Europe and Fryslân.

12 November 2007

October 2007: Durk Gorter appointed as research professor in the Basque Country

Prof. dr. Durk Gorter, project leader of the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning and researcher at the Fryske Akademy, has been appointed as Ikerbasque research professor at the university of the Basque Country in San Sebastian, Spain as from January 1, 2008. In the Basque Country Durk Gorter will be conducting two large studies.

The first is a large international comparative study into minority languages in education, such as Basque or Frisian and other minority languages. The second study, which he will carry out together with economists and linguists, concerns the added value of bilingualism and the sustainability of language diversity. This is a unique opportunity for Durk Gorter to focus entirely on research.

Durk Gorter remains a member of the scientific board of the Mercator Research Centre and the supervisor of a comparative study into multilingual education in Fryslân and the Basque Country.

Sociolinguist Durk Gorter (1952) has been a researcher at the Fryske Akademy in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, the Netherlands since 1978. His work has included a study into ‘Language in Fryslân’ and he has written his doctoral thesis on the ‘language of clerks and customers’. At the moment he is the project leader of the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning. Apart from that he has been professor of Frisian language and literature at the University of Amsterdam on a part-time basis since 1994. He has published multiple articles and several books on the Frisian language and on European minority languages.

 

October 2007: Launch of Mercator Expert of the Month–series in October

The Mercator Research Centre launches an Expert of the Month-series on its website. The first Expert of the Month will be Kadri Koreinik, sociologist and specialist in language studies especially in linguistic phenomena at the Vőro Instituut in Estonia. She is also the author of one of the Mercator Research Centre Regional Dossiers Vőro: The Vőro language in education in Estonia (due to be published).

The Mercator Research Centre launches an Expert of the Month-series on its website. The first Expert of the Month will be Kadri Koreinik, sociologist and specialist in language studies especially in linguistic phenomena at the Vőro Instituut in Estonia. She is also the author of one of the Mercator Research Centre Regional Dossiers Vőro: The Vőro language in education in Estonia (due to be published).

From now on each month there will be a new Expert of the Month, with rich content and analysis from experts in the field of regional and minority languages, small and immigrant languages in Europe, bilingualism and multilingualism, language learning and education. The Expert of the Month feature gives web visitors the chance to interact one-in-one with the Ask the expert-section. The feature also provides interesting and insightful comments regarding the subjects mentioned above, in-depth content and exclusive Q and A.

September 2007: Visit of Comittee of Experts yn Fryslân

A delegation of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional and Minority languages of the Council of Europe visited the province of Fryslân on Wednesday September 5th. The visit followed the third report of the Dutch government describing their actions towards the protection and promotion of the Frisian language for the period 2002 – 2005. The drafting of these reports is part of the actions described in the Charter for the Regional and Minority languages of the Council.

All organisations and authorities with a responsibility towards the Frisian language and culture were invited to give their comments on the report and the present situation of the Frisian language. Among these also the Frisian Academy and the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning participated in this hearing. The Frisian Academy is well equiped for research in the field of language policy and education, the Mercator Research Centre hosted at the Academy has recently published its report in collaboration with the Council of Europe on the development of minimum standards on language education. The Mercator Research Centre aims to undertake further actions and research in the field of the implementation of the undertakings of article 8 Education of the Charter.

At first sight the delegation was not very impressed with the findings, there has been only little progress in the actions to secure and improve the situation for the Frisian language as second national language of the Netherlands.

August 2007: European Seminar on Basque education

Mercator: European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning in collaboration with the Basque Department of Education, Universities and Research organises an international seminar in Ljouwert. This seminar is by invitation only.

The theme will be: New developments in Basque education in a European perspective

 

The aim of this international seminar is to discuss in depth how challenges are addressed in the Basque Country, and how their experiences can be of relevance to other communities in Europe, in particular related to the development of the education models and teacher training.

For this seminar Mercator and the Basque Education Ministry will invite a limited number of policymakers, researchers and professional trainers in the field of minority and smaller language education and teacher training across Europe.

More information



  August 22 2007

 


August 2007: Conference announcement Future of European Policy Towards Multilingualism and Language Learning

The Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning is happy to announce an international conference which will take place in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden (Fryslân, The Netherlands) from 21 - 23 November 2007. This conference will examine new issues and developments in the field of Regional and Minority Languages and Language Learning policy within Europe.

International Conference organised by the Mercator Research Centre

"The Future of European Policy towards Multilingualism and Language Learning”

 

The Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning is happy to announce an international
conference which will take place in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden (Fryslân, The Netherlands) from 21 - 23 November 2007.

 

This conference will examine new issues and developments in the field of Regional and Minority Languages and Language Learning policy within Europe.

For more information and registration you can visit the conference website

 


Topics of the conference will be:

 

  • Multilingual language learning policy
  • Comparison of educational models
  • Development of European standards
  • The role of the Common European
    Framework of Reference
  • Innovation in language learning strategies
  • Sustainability of multilingualism
  • Successful multilingual regions
  • Promoting linguistic diversity
  • New technologies for language teaching

 



 

The organising committee welcomes papers
on any of these topics.
The deadline for submitting proposals
(with a maximum of 500 words)
is 30 September 2007.

 

Notification of acceptance will be send before
1 October 2007.

 

Abstracts can be send to: mercator(a)fryske-akademy.nl

 

The conference is organised by the Mercator Research Centre, in collaboration with Mercator-Media in Aberystwyth (Wales) and Mercator-Legislation
in Barcelona (Catalonia). 

 

 

Registration for the conference is free of charge.
More information can soon be found at our website

 

  August 22 2007

May 2007: Frisian Knowledge Workshop welcomed enthusiastically

The Mercator Research Centre recently organised a so-called Knowledge Workshop for Frisian institutions that play a role in multilingual education in Fryslân. This workshop has shown that these institutions are very ambitious. For the Mercator Research Centre this is an encouragement to organise, in association with the other institutes, Knowledge Workshops on a regular basis, where European themes will be investigated in depth.

 

The Mercator Research Centre recently organised a so-called Knowledge Workshop for Frisian institutions that play a role in multilingual education in Fryslân. This workshop has shown that these institutions are very ambitious. For the Mercator Research Centre this is an encouragement to organise, in association with the other institutes, Knowledge Workshops on a regular basis, where European themes will be investigated in depth.

 

The Knowledge Workshop of Mercator was attended by representatives of almost all Frisian organisations in the field of Frisian language and culture related to education: from the regional broadcasting company Omrop Fryslân to the Frisian publisher AFUK and from Cedin (centre for educational advise) to NHL-university.

The workshop is one of the four main activities that Mercator organizes in 2007 to investigate and identify the possibilities and needs in the field of multilingualism and language learning in Europe.