Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning
hosted by the Fryske Akademy, researches multilingual education and language learning in Europe. It is an independent and recognised reference centre.
Mercator European Research Centre brings Europe to Fryslân and Fryslân to Europe.
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The project 'Endangered languages and archives' focuses on the study of language contact, language change, and the reconstruction of historical sound recordings. Focus areas are the Russian Federation and neighbouring countries.
Dr Tjeerd de Graaf is the project leader. Hy is a research fellow at Mercator/ Fryske Akademy and board member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages and the Foundation for Siberian Cultures.
The Mercator European Research Centre for Multilingualism and Language Learning represents an internationally recognized, independent reference centre. To obtain reliable information about small languages spoken in other European countries, Mercator closely cooperates with other European and Russian experts, institutions and universities. Research questions under study at Mercator include (for example) the autochtonous lesser-used languages in the educational system in European regions, the supporting of teachers to integrate Global Citizenship goals including plurlingualism into their daily practice, the embedding of less used languages in the policy of Europe’s nations, and the stimulating of young people to capitalize on their minority language skills and help them in their search for work.
Mercator European Research Centre shares and disseminates collected knowledge, online and via its publications. The Mercator Regional Dossiers, for example, are written by experts from all over Europe, and describe in-depth language education and legislation of less-used languages in Europe. The Mercator Network Newsletter, with almost 2500 subscribers, brings you monthly news about less used languages in Europe and about upcoming events. Mercator writes research reports, also on commission, and these are freely downloadable. The Mercator library is located at Tresoar, the Frisian centre for cultural and linguistic heritage in Leeuwarden, and contains over 6500 books and articles concerning less used languages and multilingualism.
Bringing people together
The Mercator European Research Centre is situated in the minority-language province of Fryslân. As a research institute, Mercator wants to make use of the excellent opportunities the Frisian situation has to offer as a living laboratory on multilingualism. At the same time, Mercator makes state-of-the-art research and interesting developments from other minority language regions available to relevant stakeholders in Fryslân. Mercator uses its own network and that of others to introduce researchers and other interested parties to the bilingual society that is Fryslân. In recent years, for example, Mercator has welcomed to Leeuwarden different international teacher groups in primary and secondary education, delegates from Language Academies throughout the world, and researchers who needed support for their research on multilingualism or who traveled to Fryslân for the many international conferences that Mercator (co)organised in local venues and with local suppliers.