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Number 130 - March 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

Report on the Arctic Educational Forum in Salekhard

  Arctic Educational Forum

By: Tjeerd de Graaf

From 28 February until 1 April the government of the Yamal Region in the Russian Federation organised the Third Arctic Educational Forum. During this meeting of about 350 participants from various parts of the Russian Federation several specialists presented contributions about the educational services in the Arctic regions, in particular for the local minorities, and discussions took place about related topics.

Since 2008 the Mercator Centre of the Fryske Akademy has been in contact with the Department of International Relations of the Yamal Region and in 2011 a special agreement of co-operation was signed between this Department and the Fryske Akademy, which provides the exchange of information and mutual visits of scholars between Fryslân and Yamal. In the framework of this co-operation a special dossier on the teaching of the local minority languages Nenets, Khanty and Selkup has been prepared. This is one of the publications in the series of regional dossiers, which can be found here. The author of this dossier, Roza Laptander has translated the English text of the dossier into a Russian version, of which many copies have been printed and distributed among the participants of the Arctic Forum. There she could also represent the Mercator Centre, provide information about our work and establish further contacts for future co-operation.

The local news media published a report about the Forum, where our co-operation is mentioned. The local TV of the Yamal Region organised an interesting interview with Roza Laptander and other participants about the safeguarding of endangered languages, which can be found here

Northern Ireland gets three more weeks to form a new regional government


March 27th, The British government gave Northern Ireland’s largest political parties, the Democratic Union Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, a few more weeks to clinch a deal on a power-sharing regional government, thus staving off the risk of a suspension of devolved power for the first time in a decade.

March 27th was the deadline for the two parties to come to an agreement. However, they could not reach consensus on some major topics, including an Irish Language Act. Such an Act has been on the agenda since the 1998 peace agreement, and would include special provisions for the Irish language with regards to, for instance, broadcasting, the devolved Northern-Irish parliament and road signs.

Northern Ireland politics have been in crisis since January. A March 2 election saw DUP obtaining one more seat than Sinn Fein, and ended the majority that the pro-British unionists have enjoyed since Ireland was partitioned in 1921. If no new regional government is formed, power reverts to London. The last time that happened it took five years to re-establish self-government.

Source: The Straits Times
What would an Irish language act actually mean?

Music in the Ubangi and Uele regions: the work of Didier Demolin

  Zande kpaningba xylophone, Dungu 1984

Regularly visiting the Fryske Akademy is Dr. Demolin from the University of Paris. One the focus areas of his research is music in the Ubangi and Uele regions (Congo), and the collection of the Fleming Armand Hutereau. Armand Hutereau was a member of the Upper Uele expedition (1901-1905), who had an active role in the ethnographic survey of this region. Hutereau documented and collected music and musical instruments from the region, including 254 wax rolls, containing music and language recordings from the Zande, Mangbetu, and the Efe Pygmies.

Dr. Demolin compared the music of Hutereau's wax rolls to music played by the Zande, Mangbetu, and Efe Pygmies in the last decades of the 20th century. All instruments described by Hutereau turned out to be still in use. In addition, some of the music pieces on the wax rolls were still being played. For instance, one of the wax rolls contains music of a performance by the Mangbetu. This performance was accompanied by dance and held at court to praise the chief. Nowadays this piece is still performed and is referred to as "Ambolo".

The music played in the Ubangi and Uele regions is highly complex and contains advanced techniques, such as polyrythm, and contrepoint. For more information about the work of Didier Demolin, please click here

Majority of Valencian schools chooses most advanced multilingual programme

  Zande kpaningba xylophone, Dungu 1984

In the Autonomous Community Valencia (Spain) a 2-year experiment will start with a new multilingual education model, the "Dynamic Multilingual Education Programme", in which children of 3, 4 and 5 years old receive education through Valencian, Spanish and English.

The model is based on integrated language learning (CLIL), and is divided into three levels: basic (I and II), Intermediate (I and II) and Advanced (I and II). The different levels represent different amounts of time spent on the three languages compared to other parts of the curriculum.

Valencia's Ministry for Education, Research, Culture and Sport has revealed that 54% of educational centres have chosen the advanced level, 30% intermediate and 16% basic multilingualism. The Ministry also announced an plan of action to train teachers in implementing the new education programme.

Twelve more municipalities in Navarre have asked to be moved from the "non-Basque speaking area" to the "mixed zone"

  Pamplona, Navarre

Twelve more municipalities have requested to be taken up in the "mixed zone" of Navarre. Municipalities in "the mixed zone" have more opportunities and facilities to teach the Basque language in school, and to use the language in public administration. In addition, Basque language skills are required to apply for some jobs in public administration. Parliament is processing these requests, but the opposition has responded with harsh criticism, stating that parliament seeks to "impose" the Basque language on the people of Navarre.

In 1986, when the Law of Vascuence was adopted, Navarre was divided in "Basque speaking areas", "non-Basque speaking areas" and "mixed areas". In Basque speaking areas, where Basque is co-official, educational opportunities to learn Basque were more extensive than in the "mixed" and "non-Basque speaking areas". In 2010, the law was modified to allow four municipalities to be added to the "mixed area", and more areas could join if the local administrations approved and if there was "sufficient demand". In the twelve municipalies mentioned, sufficient demand apparently exists, and the local administrations have voted to be moved to the mixed area.

In 2015 the Law of Vascuence was modified so that all schools, regardless of linguisitic area, were allowed to implement and fund the so-called "model D". This model is the most extensive educational programme for teaching Basque, and includes a total immersion in the language. In that way, educational opportunities to learn Basque in those schools would become the same as those at schools in the "Basque speaking areas”.

Mercator Research Centre has a new website

  Map of Europe, by Mercator

March 20th, the new Mercator Research Centre website went online. The new website features a new, mobile-friendly design. The reader might be interested in:

  • The Knowledge base: containing the highly popular Regional Dossiers, and freely downloadable Merctaor publications,
  • The Networks section: where one can search our Database of Experts, or read interviews with experts on multilingualsm and language learning,
  • The News and Events section, where one can look for upcoming events or see an overview of Mercator Research Centre's activities in the past.

Mercator Research Centre is very much interested in any comments or ideas that the reader may have, and these can be sent to the webeditor.

Interesting Links

French presidential candidate Christian Troadec on officializing regional languages.

Report published on the application of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) in Armenia and the Republic of Moldova.

Memprize/, competition to advance scientific knowledge of the best ways to learn, won by Nijmegen University.


13 April 2017, Utrecht (NL): 27th Anéla/VIOT Juniorendag.

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.

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.

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.

16 - 18 October 2017, Tblisi (Georgia) 7th International Scientific Conference: Language Policy in the Caucasus, Deadline: 17 June 2017.

15 - 16 November 2017, Warsaw (Poland) Engaged humanities in Europe: Capacity building for participatory research in linguistic-cultural heritage, deadline proposal submission: 16 April, 2017.

12 March 2017, Ghent (Belgium) Monolingual histories – Multilingual practices Issues in historical language contact, Call for papers deadline: 1 May 2017.