Call for Papers

Minority Languages in the City


You can download the Call for Papers here (pdf) >>>


The Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning (Fryske Akademy, Leeuwarden, NL), the Endangered Languages Archive (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, DE), and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation (Minde, PT) cordially invite researchers, scholars, and members of community organisations to join the international conference on Minority Languages in the City.

The conference will take place on 16 & 17 March 2023. The conference will be held in person at the Oranje Hotel in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden (Netherlands) in the historic heart of the city, right across the station.

Should this not be possible due to Covid-19, the conference will take place online. Presenters and registered attendees will be notified of this no later than 4th February 2023.



As a result of globalisation and urbanisation, many cities are hotspots of linguistic diversity. Immigrants tend to settle in urban environments because they usually offer the best economic opportunities, and life in the city allows them to access networks that provide the support needed to adjust within a new host community. Many immigrants strive, but struggle, to maintain and transmit their heritage languages. Signing communities often emerge and flourish in large cities where deaf people are able to live together and/or gather frequently. New speakers of minority languages – that is, individuals who did not grow up with minority languages but acquire them later on in life, outside the home – are generally characterised by urban profiles.

Traditional speakers of minority languages often consider the varieties learnt by new speakers to be inauthentic, causing urban new speakers to struggle with how to become legitimate minority language users. At the same time, among traditional speakers of autochthonous languages, urbanisation frequently leads to a shift from the minority to the majority language. Many cities are thus home to a range of minority language communities with different histories, different levels of recognition and support, and very different needs.


Papers & Posters

For this conference, we invite abstracts for papers and posters including (but not limited to) the following aspects of minority languages in urban contexts:

  • the vitality of minority language communities
  • the endangerment of minority languages
  • attitudes and ideologies regarding minority languages and their users
  • the intergenerational transmission of minority languages
  • the transmission of minority languages through educational institutions
  • alternative schemes and programmes to promote the transmission of minority languages
  • municipal language planning to maintain &/ revitalise minority languages
  • the role of community organisations
  • the importance of community consultation in research regarding linguistic minorities
  • the challenges of urban fieldwork

We welcome abstracts for presentations and posters that focus exclusively on cities or that compare urban and rural contexts. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words (excluding references).

Presentations should last a maximum of 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for discussion afterwards.

Abstracts should be submitted via this GOOGLE FORM. If you submit by 16 December 2022, you will be notified by 6 January 2023; if you submit between 16 December 2022 and 20 January 2023, you will be notified by 4 February 2023.

The conference fee is € 90.00 for the whole conference, including 2 lunches, coffee/tee and a conference dinner on 16 March 2023. You can register via this website.

The Oranje Hotel is offering a reduction of 15% on rooms for early bookings before 1 March 2023 through their website (limited availability - please use code VIP15).

In case there are difficulties that prevent you from traveling to the conference site, please contact the organisation.