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Number 131 - April 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 OSCE meeting in Kiev, Ukraine

  OSCE meeting 2017, Kiev

April 13, the OSCE meeting "Multilingual education in the OSCE regions: experiences and perspectives for Ukraine" took place in Kiev. The participants were welcomed by Liliya Grynevych, Ukraine's Minister for Education and Science.

Many interesting presentations followed concerning multilingual education in Ukraine, multilingual models, and multilingual education across the OSCE, including one by Mercator colleague Cor van der Meer.

For more information about the OSCE, click here.

Post-Yugoslav ‘Common Language’ Declaration Challenges Nationalism


On March 30, over 200 researchers, writers, scientists, and activists signed a Declaration of Common Language in Sarajevo contending that all languages spoken in the Balkan states that formerly spoke Serbo-Croatian should be considered the same.

The declaration was drafted by 30 linguists, and presented in Sarajevo by a group of NGOs and linguists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia in Sarajevo, in an attempt to counter nationalist divisions in the former Yugoslavia: “We, the signatories of this declaration, believe that the existence of a common polycentric language does not call into question the individual right to express one’s belonging to different nations, regions or countries,” the declaration says.

Although there are four separate official languages - Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian - speakers of each language understand each other well, despite linguistic variations.

Read more at:
True Viral News
Balkan Insight

Annual BASEES conference, Cambridge

  BASEES conference in Camebridge

By: Tjeerd de Graaf

From 31 March until 2 April 2017, the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies organised its annual conference in the buildings of Fitzwilliam College and Churchill College in Cambridge (UK).

A few hundred delegates attended Keynote Roundtables such as on the Centenary of the Russian Revolution and on the Collapse on the Soviet Union. For the last topic the former presidents of Ukraine (Kravchuk) and Belarus (Shushkevich) were invited and gave an interesting report about their discussions with Jeltsin and other politicians from the Russian Federation in 1991, which initiated the end of the Soviet Union.

In a large number of panels and sections, many papers were discussed about topics such as Slavic Languages and English, Russian Speech Aesthetics, Language and Identity and Language Policy in the States of the former Soviet Union. Tjeerd de Graaf contributed to this with a lecture on Endangered Language Communities in Russia, the Mercator Centre and the Foundation for Siberian Cultures.

More details about the conference can be found here.

Final Report LangOER project – 90% Score


By: Marit Bijlsma

The LangOER project was a 3-year running Life Long Learning project, coordinated by Mercator European Research Centre (Fryske Akademy). LangOER aims to contribute to the promotion of learning and teaching of less used European languages by linking them to the global challenges of Open Education. The partnership consisted of the following organisations:

  • Fryske Akademy / Mercator European Research Centre, The Netherlands (Project coordination)
  • Web2learn, Greece (Project management)
  • European Schoolnet, Belgium
  • University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Jan Dlugosz University, Poland
  • Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania
  • International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), Norway
  • Linnaeus University, Sweden
  • Rezekne Higher Education Institution, Latvia

The final report on the project activities and impact had been submitted to the European Commission in March 2017. The European Commission has awarded the project with a 90% score. The European Commissions report on the final outcomes of the LangOER project stated that ‘the initial aims and objectives of the project have been achieved to a high level of quality” and “the impact is very impressive. This has been the result of a committed and hard working partnership”. The Mercator Research Centre is therefore also very proud of all the partners in the consortium and their dedication for making LangOER such a succes.

An overview of the workpackages and materials can be found here.

Aberystwyth academic Elin Jones to review European minority languages charter

  elin jones

Professor Elin Jones from Aberystwyth University, Director of the Mercator Institute at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, has been appointed by the Council of Europe to join a working group to review the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The other members of the group are Professor Tom Moring (University of Helsinki), Professor Birgitta Busch (University of Vienna), Professor Stefan Oter (University of Hamburg) and Mercator colleague Professor Jarmo Lainio (University of Stockholm).

The Working Group will discuss how the changing media environment might have influenced the case-law of the the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages since it came into force in 1992. It will also consider how best to take these changes into account when making recommendations for individual States to take particular action to comply with the Charter’s provision on media.

Source: Aberystwyth University news

Report on the workshop in Stockholm about education, language policies and minoritized languages


March 30 and 31, a workshop on "education, language policies and minoritized languages across borders" took place in Stockholm, Sweden. The workshop was organized by the section Finnish and the Department of Romance Studies and Classics at Stockholm University.

Presentations were held, including one by Mercator colleague Jarmo Laino and Lasse Vuorsola, about "International minority language promotion in relation to local indifference", and one by Mercator colleague Cor van der Meer, on "The Frisian language in education, a continuous challenge".

In addition to presentations, thoughts concerning future joint projects were exchanged, including ideas on a project about the long term effects of bilingualism, specifically in regards to economic perspectives.

More information about the workshop may be found here.

EU Court deems rejection of Minority SafePack Initiative unlawful

  minority_safepack logo

On 3 February 2017, the EU Court delivered judgment in the case of the Minority Safepack Initiative against the European Commission. The Court held that the decision taken by the European Commission in September 2013 to reject the registration of the Minority SafePack Initiative was unlawful.

According to the judges, the European Commission failed to comply with its obligations to state reasons for the rejection, by not indicating which of the measures contained in the Minority SafePack initiative did not come within its competence, and by not setting out the reasons in support of that conclusion. As a result, the citizen’s committee was not able to identify which proposals of the Minority SafePack Initiative fell outside the competences of the European Commission.

the Minority SafePack Initiative is a European Citizen's Initiative, initiated by the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN), and calls "upon the EU to improve the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities and strengthen cultural and linguistic diversity in the Union". The project is the most important initiative of minorities in Europe in recent decades. Started with much optimism and political support, the European Commission rejected the initiative in September 2013, because according to the Commission, the proposed initiative fell “manifestly outside the framework of the Commission’s powers”. The initiative was then taken before the European Court of Justice.

Source: FUEN website
More information about the Minority Safepack Initiative

Call for Papers: Langscape conference, Multilingualism: Minority & Majority Perspectives


12-14 October 2017, the Langscape conference Multilingualism: minority & majority perspectives will take place in the Hampshire Hotel - Oranje Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Mercator Research Centre will host the conference.

The conference will bring together scholars from different disciplines who explore issues of multilingualism from minority and majority perspectives, from theoretical or empirical (quantitative and/or qualitative) angles.

Abstract may be submitted until 1st June, 2017. Abstracts (approx. 200 words) should be sent in electronic form (single file: .txt, .rtf, .pdf, or .doc format) to quoting “Langscape conference abstract” in the subject line.

More information about the conference is available on the Mercator website.

Russian edition of Mercator's Dossier on Nenets, Khanty and Selkup published


The Mercator Regional Dossier Ненецкий, хантыйский и селькупский языки в образовательной системе Ямала Российской Федерации (Nenets, Khanty, and Selkup in the Yamal Region in Russia) was translated in Russian by Dr Roza Ivanovna Laptander.

It is the first Mercator Regional Dossier concerning languages in the Russian Federation. Hopefully, many more will follow!

Dr Laptander (Candidate of Philological Science) both wrote and translated the dossier. She is an expert in the Tundra Nenets language and Nenets speaking society, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology and researcher at the Artic Centre at the University of Lapland and visiting researcher at the Artic Centre of the University of Groningen.

The dossier Ненецкий, хантыйский и селькупский языки в образовательной системе Ямала Российской Федерации is freely downloadable here.

Interesting Links

Basque Korrika and Breton ar-redadeg exhibition races held, to raise funds for Basque and Breton language projects

Catalonia, Valencian Country and Balearic Islands cooperate on linguisitc policy following the Palma Declaration of 20 February

COST, The New Speakers Network: a network facilitating structured dialogue and collaboration amongst researchers from Regional minorities, Immigrants, and Transnational workers.

Catalan literature disembarks at Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

More Accurate World Map Wins Prestigious Design Award.


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.

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.

29 September - 30 September, 2017, Koper (Slovenia) Multilingual Education in Linguistically Diverse Contexts, 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.

8 - 10 December, Graz (Austria) Language Education across Borders, conference.