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Summary of Expert Meeting 24-25 March 2011 in Budapest

On the 23rd and the 24th of March the third Expert Seminar of the Mercator Network project took place in Budapest. The Expert Seminar was followed by an international conference on the 25th and 26th of March with the subject ‘Multilingualism in Europe: prospects and practices in East-Central Europe’.

The following experts were present at the seminar:

  • György Andrássy (Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Pécs)
  • Pia Lane (Post Doctoral researcher at the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies - Institutt for lingvistiske og nordiske studier, Oslo, Norway)
  • Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta (Professor in Education, Chair in Didactics, National Research School LIMCUL -Literacies, Multilingualism and Cultural Practices in present day society-, Örebro University, Sweden)
  • Jeroen Darquennes (Expert on a.o. multilingualism, sociolinguistics, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix Namur)
  • Vera Klopčič (Senior Researcher, Institute for Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Anna Borbély (Senior research fellow at Research Institute for Linguistics)
  • Balázs Vizi (Professor at Budapest Corvinus University)
  • Joan Bernat i Mari (Expert on minority language legislation and language policy)
  • Gábor Kardos (Professor of the ELTE University, expert of the Council of Europe)

After the introduction of the invited experts and partners the discussion has begun, based on the distributed position paper, which was written by Prof. György Andrássy, with the title of ‘How to Eliminate Paradigm Anomalies from International Language Law?’

The paper was to initiate discussion on some problems inherent in contemporary international language law. The author holds that the problems in question are actually eliminable paradigm anomalies and that their solution or elimination can be derived from the paradigms themselves or, in other words, from the inherent logic of international language law. The paper discussed two such problems or eliminable anomalies which are closely related to each other.

The paper began with pointing out that there are really existing serious problems in contemporary international language law and then it must provide explanation why these problems can and should be conceived as paradigm anomalies. Second, the paper presented the origin and the usual identifications of these paradigm anomalies in the process of recognition of language rights after World War II on the one hand, and in theoretical debates concerning the minority question after World War II, on the other. Third, the author pointed out that both proponents and opponents of recognition of minority language rights had failed to raise certain paradigmatic questions which shed light on the real nature of these problems and their solution as well. Then the author asked these questions and demonstrated that the problems were indeed paradigm anomalies, in particular eliminable paradigm anomalies; this latter point naturally included the presentation of the basic idea of the elimination as well. Fourth, the author provided some concluding remarks and made a recommendation.

In the second part of the expert seminar there were country reports/summaries by invited experts and partners on national language legislation, and on the main legislative problems related to the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

In the following newsletter you can read more about experts’ comments on the position paper and some information will be given on country reports.

Some reactions of partners and experts:

“A quick word of thanks and congratulations to our Hungarian partner for an excellent workshop and conference in Budapest. Both events were well planned and thoroughly stimulating. Thanks also for the kind hospitality”. Elin Haf Jones (Mercator Media/Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth).

 “Thank you for a great and stimulating partner meeting, seminar and conference in a very stimulating atmosphere with lovely events and food!”. Cor van der Meer (Mercator Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning, Ljouwert)

“Many thanks from Barcelona for your warm welcome. Congratulations for the success of the workshop and the conference. They have given us ideas for the Barcelona conference”. David Fornies and Maria Areny i Busquets (Mercator Legislation/CIEMEN, Barcelona)

“A special thanks to the organisers for arranging such an interesting workshop and conference. It was a BIG success”.  Tarja Soutolahti (Centre for Finnish Studies/Mälardälen University, Eskilstuna).

“I have rarely found a conference that so well reflected significant multidisciplinary themes as the one that were focused upon in Budapest” Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta (Professor in Education, National Research School LIMCUL)

“Thank you for your wonderful invitation and for the experience. The conference was great, you should be proud of yourselves” Dr. Jelena Filipović (Professor of Spanish and Sociolinguistics, Department of Iberian Studies, School of Philology - University of Belgrade)

“It was a unique opportunity to meet with experts from other countries, engaged in various disciplines, with the common goal – to promote cultural and linguistic diversity and respect for human rights for all” Vera Klopčič (Senior Researcher, Institute for Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

“I would like to thank you for the wonderfully organized expert seminar and conference in Budapest. It was a pleasure to see some old friends again and to get to know many more interesting people” Jeroen Darquennes (Expert on a.o. multilingualism, sociolinguistics, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix Namur)


Workshop and conference in the media

Workshop Picture Gallery

Conference Picture Gallery