- Minority languages
- Research & Projects
The European Commission will support the Mercator Network with almost 450,000 Euros for the next three years.
The funding is divided among five partners; the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning in Leeuwarden is the lead partner and will receive 60,000 Euros per year. The other partners are universities and research centres in Wales, Catalonia, Hungary, and Sweden. In addition to the European contribution, the province of Fryslân announced this week that it will fund the Mercator Research Centre, part of the Frisian Academy, over the next three years with 200,000 Euros annually. During those three years the municipality of Leeuwarden, too, will invests the same amount per year. Finally, as from 2007 the Mercator Research Centre receives 140,000 Euros per year of the Basque government.
The Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, minister professor Boldjurova, visited the Mercator Research Centre on Wednesday, October 1.
Main goal of the visit was to get information about multilingual education and especially the tri-lingual school system in Friesland. The minister of the Kyrgyz Republic invited one of the staff members of the Mercator Research Centre to give a number of presentations in her country Kyrgyzstan.
The Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) has been launched at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday June 11. The Euro commissioner for Multilingualism, Mr Leonard Orban, addressed the members of the NPLD. He also gave a first outline of the policy paper on multilingualism that will be discussed by the European Commission on the 17th of September. On behalf of the provincial government of Fryslân Mr Jan Slijkhuis (Director of the Department Prosperity and Welfare of the Province of Fryslân) has been spoken about the significance that the Province attaches to the European network, in particular with regard to closer cooperation with other European regional authorities in the field of language policy.
Following the official launch of the NPLD the Mercator Research Centre, in cooperation with the Province of Fryslân, has presented a joint project proposal on distance learning of Frisian and possible other languages. It is a proposal for the further development of instruments for distance learning and contact activities aimed at the acquisition of minority and smaller state languages and to experience their cultures, to be submitted to the Interreg IVc programme. The basis of this proposal is the successful project Edufrysk that was developed over the last two years.
Through its Network of Schools the Mercator Research Centre will strengthen the cooperation of bilingual and trilingual schools throughout Europe and develop project proposals within the Integrated Lifelong Learning Programme.
A delegation of the Institute for Linguistic and Strategic Studies of the University of Nanking (China) visited the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning and the Fryske Akademy (Frisian Academy) on Monday, May 19th. The Chinese professors were favourably impressed by the strength and wealth that multilingualism can entail.
The Fryske Akademy informed the Chinese visitors about the Frisian language, sociolinguistics, and the Frisian Language surveys – another survey will be conducted in 2009. The Chinese also got information about the contribution of the Fryske Akademy to the language policy of the Province of Fryslân. Furthermore, attention was paid to the expertise of the Mercator Research Centre and to the opportunities of its international networks. The last presentation focused on the learning and teaching of minority languages in Europe; in that context the report Minimum standards, which was written by Mercator last year and commissioned by the Council of Europe, was discussed. The presentations provided the Chinese with useful new information and resulted in a lively discussion on language policy, minorities, migration, and endangered languages.
At the moment a census is in preparation in Nanking. As part of the census the researchers want to record all minority languages in China too. During the visit a possible – scientific – contribution of the Mercator Research Centre and the Fryske Akademy to this study was discussed. That is why a delegation of the Mercator Research Centre and the Fryske Akademy has been invited to pay a return visit to the Institute for Linguistic and Strategic Studies of the University of Nanking.
The Chinese delegation consisted of professor Ding Fan (dean) and professor Wang Minsheng (head research), their interpreters: Ms Cahoiju Tang and Ms dr. Yayi Chen, and their Dutch hosts: dr. Marinus van den Berg (Leiden University) and dr. Hans van de Velde (Utrecht University).
The Mercator European Research Centre for Multilingualism and Language learning receives 50.000 Euros from the municipality of Leeuwarden. The contribution is intended for the further development of the Mercator Research Centre into a European Agency for Linguistic Diversity and Language Learning in the knowledge city of Leeuwarden.
Within the City Covenant of Leeuwarden and the Berenschot plans the municipality of Leeuwarden and the Province of Fryslân on the one hand, and the Frisian institutes for higher education and the Fryske Akademy on the other, have made an agreement regarding the development of ‘Leeuwarden, fier verder!’ (‘Leeuwarden, forward with pride!’) with 5 relevant pillars, including ‘Time for beauty’, “Cure and Care’, and ‘Knowledge city’. The theme ‘multilingualism’, for which the Mercator Research Centre of the Fryske Akademy is responsible, is part of the pillar ‘knowledge city’. The contribution of the municipality of Leeuwarden for 2008 can be changed into structural funding as part of ‘Leeuwarden, fier verder!’ for 2009-2013.
The aid of the municipality of Leeuwarden and the Province of Fryslân is important support for the acquisition of European funding for projects that the Mercator Research Centre wants to develop in Fryslân and other areas, such as a European Language Agency of international stature.