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Number 129 - February 2017


The Mercator newsletter informs you about the news of the Mercator Network partners:

Mercator Research Centre (Fryske Akademy)
Mercator Media Mercator Legislation / CUSC-UB
Stockholm University Research Institute for Linguistics

Newsletter focusing on multilingual regions dealing with regional or minority languages, but also immigrant languages and smaller state languages, with emphasis on language needs arising from migration and globalization. Submit your subscription request, comments or suggestions to: Johanneke Buning (Fryske Akademy).

Interesting Links

European Parliament publishes Mercator Research report on minority language education

  Mercator report by CULT-committee

On February 27, 2017, The European Parliament published the report Research for CULT committee – Minority Languages and education: best practices and pitfalls, by Rixt van Dongera, Cor van der Meer, and Richt Sterk (Mercator Research Centre, Fryske Akademy).

The European Parliament requested the report from Mercator Research Centre to gain insight into the situation of minority languages in education in Europe. The report offers an in-depth comparative analysis of thirteen language case studies. Indications for best practices are described and challenges that minority languages face in education are highlighted. Specific attention is directed to vocational education and career perspectives. Lastly, this report gives recommendations how the EU can support minority languages in education, such as: to promote programmes that are focused on the exchange of experiences and best practices, to promote EU-wide research on education and language learning, and to stimulate the development of qualitative teaching material in minority languages

On the 23rd of March, Richt Sterk, one of the authors, will present the findings of the report in Brussels.

Download the report Research for CULT committee – Minority Languages and education: best practices and pitfalls.

Swedish government appoints commissions to analyse Swedish minority language legislation

  Swedish Sami

By: Jarmo Lainio

The Swedish Government has set up several commissions, that are asked to clarify the legal and practical status of the five national minority languages of Sweden: Finnish, Meänkieli, Romani Chib, Sami and Yiddish.

Among them, two commissions may be mentioned here:

  1. In June 2017, a commission led by Mr Lennart Rhodin will report on the implementation of and possible amendments to the Law on national minorities and national minority languages (in force from 2010). Click here for more information (in Swedish).
  2. In August 2017, another commission has been asked to present suggestions on measures to be taken and legal amendments to be made in order to improve the learning of the national minority languages in primary school, special primary school, secondary school, special secondary school and the Sami school. This commission is led by Professor Jarmo Lainio. Click here for more information (in Swedish).

Swedish reference group for education of Romani Chib reshaped

  Swedish Roma

By: Jarmo Lainio

A former reference group for the teaching and teacher education of Romani Chib at Södertörn University College, south of Stockholm, has in February 2017 been reshaped as a National network on education and teacher education of the national minority languages of Sweden.

Three universities are involved - in addition to Södertörn University College (which remains responsible for Romani Chib). These are: Lund University (Yiddish; no teacher education so far), Stockholm University (Finnish/Sweden Finnish), and Umeå University (Meänkieli and Sami).

Contact persons for the different educational institutions can be reached via the the Department of Slavic and Baltic languages, Finnish, Dutch and German, at Stockholm University, or by sending an email to Jarmo Lainio, or, Sari Pesonen

Results of the MigRom project presented


The research results of the MigRom project, concerning Europe's Roma minority, have been unveiled at a three-day conference at Manchester Museum.

The project investigated the experiences, motivations, and ambitions of Roma migrants from Romania who have recently moved to Italy, France, Spain, and the UK, and the effect of migration on their own lives and on the lives of relations left behind in their home communities. It examined popular, media, and official reactions to Roma immigration, collected good practices of integration of Roma migrants, and offered policy recommendations and models for community engagement strategies.

The researchers concluded that access to housing, removal of restrictions on employment and access to school places are the foundations for successful integration.

The MigRom project consisted of a partnership between The University of Manchester, academic partners across Europe, Manchester City Council, the European Commission and a Roma organisation at the Council of Europe - launched in 2013.

Source: University of Manchester news

February 21: International Mother language day

  Mother language day

Last tuesday, in the light of International Mother Language Day, EBLT and Slieker film presented the Documentary Sumé – the sound of a revolution, about the Greenlandic language in Leeuwarden, Frisia (NL). Many organisations released statements that day, expressing their support for linguistic diversity and for protecting linguistic rights, such as UNESCO, and the Universal Esperanto Association.

This year, International Mother language day was devoted to Multilingual Education. To quote UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova: "Education and information in the mother language is absolutely essential to improving learning and developing confidence and self-esteem, which are among the most powerful engines of development". (For the full letter, see here).

Multilingual education is one of the focal points of Mercator Research Centre. For almost three decades, Mercator has taken stock of multilingual education across Europe, reporting its findings and best practices in the Regional Dossiers and in its research reports.

Wanted: Authors for the Regional Dossier Series

  Mercator Regional Dossier

Mercator Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning is looking for authors to contribute to its Mercator Regional Dossiers.

The Mercator Regional Dossiers provide up-to-date descriptions and basic statistics about minority language education in specific regions of Europe. The series discusses autochthonous regional and/or minority languages, as well as cross-border languages. Via the series, Mercator Research Centre aims to provide knowledge to various target groups, including researchers, educators, and policymakers. Currently, the series include 49 titles, and proves quite popular: in 2016 alone, the dossiers were downloaded 32,729 times.

Mercator Research Centre is continually striving to add new titles to the series, and is currently looking for experts on minority language education, who are willing to write a dossier.

If you would like more information, or are interested in authoring a dossier, please contact Mercator Research Centre. For information about which titles are already available, please check our website.

April 27th 2017: Mobility and inclusion in multilingual Europe (MIME): A preview of research results

  Logo MIME project

On April 27, Brussels, the MIME project will present prelimanary research results from its research Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual Europe (MIME, 2014-2018), and discuss these with the participants at the event.

The MIME project invites, to the event, people whose work in politics, policy or administration leads them to ponder the advantages and drawbacks of alternative language policy choices. MIME is, in particular, interested in feedback that will help it to efficiently fine-tune, for the benefit of users, communication about research-backed language policy tools in order to make them as accessible and useful as possible.

The MIME project analyses and studies practical orientations regarding how to deal with Europe's multilingual challenge. To obtain advice from experts on multilingualsm all over Europe, MIME makes use of stakeholders, inluding Mercator Research Centre.

For more information about the event on April 27th, click here.
For more information about the MIME project, click here.

Website of the COMBI project online, newsletter launched

  Logo COMBI project

The COMBI project, “Communication competences for migrants and disadvantaged background learners in bilingual work environments”, has launched its website and will regularly inform those interested via their newsletter, to which the reader may subscibe here.

The COMBI project will last 36 months, and aims to develop methods that help employees become competent in the languages used in the workplace. These methods should reflect Europe's multilingual reality, and will not aim at acquiring full competences in two or more languages, but at ascertaining that regional languages are taken into consideration in so far that these fulfil language requirements in the workplace.

Keep informed of the activities of the COMBI project:

Interesting Links, online map that allows you to listen to recorded voices and languages all over the world, and to record and add your own.

Match funding call by Europeana. An offer of 10.000 EUR to co-fund up to three creative digital projects using Europeana content for educational purposes. Deadline: 15 March 2017.

OWRI Fellowship in Languages and Communities, for postdoctoral scholars wishing to do research at the Institute of Modern Languages Research.

ICML XVI, second circular for the 16th International Conference on Minority Languages (ICML XVI), and the 34th Summer School and Conference of Applied Language Studies.

Adoptees advantaged by birth language memory, reveals research by, amongst others, Radboud University.

International Master in European Project Planning and Management, 6th Edition, duration: 5 months, Florence (Italy).


16 - 18 March 2017, Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany): Multilingualism in Society, Politics and Education, International conference.

23 - 24 March 2017, Paris (FR): Tandem Language and Intercultural Learning in Higher Education Settings, International conference.

23 - 25 March 2017, Oxford (UK): Language, Mobility, and Belonging, conference, hosted by the University of Oxford.

19 - 21 April 2017, Barcelona and Vic (ES): First International Conference on Revitalization of Indigenous and Minoritized Languages, International conference.

25-27 March 2017, Oxford (UK): Language, Mobility and Belonging Conference, International Conference organized by the University of Oxford.

27 - 28 April 2017, Birmingham, United Kingdom (UK): Minority Languages in New Media, seminar.

3 - 5 May 2017, Bologna (IT): Learning and Assessment: Making the Connections, international conference.

4 - 7 May 2017, Lausanne (CH): Approaches to Migration, Language, and Identity, International conference.

6 - 7 May 2017, Poznan (PL): Workshop on Multilingual Language Acquisition, Processing and Use, workshop.

11 - 13 May 2017, Braga (PT): International Conference on Multilingualism and Multilingual Education, Call for papers: deadline 15 February 2017.

17 - 20 May 2017, Odense (DK): MultiMeDialecTranslation 7 – Dialect translation in multimedia, conference hosted by the University of Southern Denmark.

22 - 24 May 2017, Odense (DK): The Politics of Multilingualism: Possibilities and Challenges, conference hosted by the Amsterdam School for Transnational, Regional and European Studies. Call for papers! Deadline: 20 January 2017.

26 - 27 May 2017, Kaunas (Lithuania): Sustainable Multilingualism 2017, conference.

1 June 2017, Paris (France): the Caribbean in the strategic partnership EU-CELAC, conference.

11 - 15 June 2017, Limerick (IE): International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB11), hosted by the University of Limerick.

June 19 - July 1, 2017, Finistère (France): : Intensive course in Breton heritage studies at the University of Western Brittany, hosted by the Centre for Breton and Celtic Research, University of Western Brittany.

5 - 7 July 2017, Soria (Spain): III International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity in School and Society, organized by the Loyola Marymount University School of Education (Los Angeles, California).

28 - 30 August, Jyväskylä (FI) ICML XVI, International Conference, Submission deadline: February 28, 2017.

7 - 9 September, Palma (Balearic Islands) (Spain) Formal Perspectives in the Acquisition of Minority Languages, workshop.

5 - 10 September, Krotoszyn (Poland) 5th International Cross-Curricularity in Language Education Conference, conference.

9 - 16 September 2017, Flensburg (Germany) ECMI Summer School: National minorities and border regions, Deadline: 15 May 2017.