Skip to main content
Mercator Network Banner
Number 132 - May 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

COMBI project: multiplier event

  Logo COMBI project

By: Jidde Jacobi

On 7th and 8th of June 2017, the multiplier event of the COMBI project will take place in San Sebastian (Basque Country). The objectives of the Conference are:

  • To share the results of the theoretical study in the field of “language teaching for migrants in the workplace”
  • To share good practices from all over Europe (with a certain focus on the Basque Country, due to the location of the meeting)

The conference will be free of charge.

The conference is organized by the stakeholders of the project: Fryske Akademy (Frisia, The Netherlands), Axxell (Finland), School of Welsh, Swansea University (Wales, UK), Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci (Sicily, Italy), Banaiz Bagara (Basque Country) and Elhuyar Aholkularitza (Basque Country). And it is supported by the DG Education and Culture – Erasmus+ Programme, KA2 Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education.

Click here to view the conference programme and to register for the conference.
For more information please contact:

March in Santiago de Compostella in support of the Galician language

  Galician march

On May 17th, on Galician Language Day, a few thousand people walked the streets of Santiago de Compostela to show support for the Galiacian language, in a march organized by the platform Queremos Galego.

Several speakers took the stand, critizing the low presence of Galician in the legal system and the media, and recent legislation that marginalizes the role of Galician in the education system.

In 2010 the Decree the 79/2010 was established in Galicia, which set a maximum of 50% for teaching in Galician, with the final aim of further reducing it to one third, whilst at the same time making the Castillian madatory in the teaching of mathematics in primary education and of mathematics, physics, and Chemistry in secondary education. The committee of experts from the Council of Europe critisized, in their most recent report on the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the negative effect of this Decree on the presence of Galician in Galicia's education system.

Read more here about the march here:

View the EU report on Spain (2015) here.

Council of Europe: Armenia making efforts to promote minority languages and cultures, but more needs to be done

  Council of Europe

The Council of Europe has published its report on the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Armenia. The report covers the period up to the end of May 2016, and focuses on the five languages recognized by Armenia as minority languages: Assyrian, Greek, Kurdish, Russian and Yezidi.

The report notes the respectful attitude of the Armenians toward different cultures and languages; its legislation regarding the promotion of regional and minority languages complies with the country’s obligations. However, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the country’s minority languages and cultures, to address the problem of the lack of funds, and to change the attitude of the authorities towards protecting the languages.

The report concludes that the situation of Russian is satisfactorily, but this is the only minority language in which bilingual education is provided at various educational levels. In contrast, the situation of Greek does not comply with the obligations Armenia took upon itself. There is a danger that Pontic Greek will disappear as a minority language in Armenia. Mainly due to lack of funds, Assyrian, Kurdish and Yezidi languages have only a marginal presence in the public and private media, and there is a lack of well-trained teachers.

The passive attitude of the authorities gives the impression that the protection of the minority languages is the responsibility of the minorities themselves. However, the Charter places obligations on the authorities, and not the minorities, to promote and protect minority languages, the experts stress.

Source: armradio.

Dutch council for primary education publishes recommendations for teaching 'newcomers'

  Ruimte voor nieuwe talenten omslag.jpg

On 20 March, the PO-raad (Dutch council on primary education), released a new report, recommending a new approach towards teaching 'newcomers' - children that have recently immigrated into the Netherlands - in Dutch primary schools.

The report underlines the huge value of a child's own language - not only for the child itself, but also for its classmates, and stresses the importance of using this language both for teaching Dutch as a second language, and for teaching other subjects. The report also argues that a "newcomer" should be allowed to join regular classes from the very start, and should receive additional attention for a time span of at least five years.

The current situation in the Netherlands is that newcomers first go to specialized "language classes" for two years, and afterwards are expected to blend in with the children in regular classes.

The report was written, on the invitation of the primary education council, by the LPTN, a thinktank of lectors from teacher education institutions, that aim to make Dutch primary education more suited to the growing number of pupils with a mother tongue other than Dutch.

Download the report here. (In Dutch)

​Rally in Belfast for the introduction of an Irish language act

  Rally in Belfast

​Saturday 20 May, several thousand people attended a rally in Belfast, calling for the introduction of an Irish language act. Irish language activists from both sides of the border took part in the demonstration.

​The proposed law is currently one of the stumbling blocks in the talks between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, aimed at restoring a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.

​The Democratic Unionist Party has been unwilling to agree to an Irish language act up till now: in February, DUP leader Arlene Foster said more people spoke Polish than Irish in Northern Ireland and declared the party would never agree to an act protecting the language. But since then the party has softened its tone: speaking at the DUP's general election campaign launch, May 8, Ms Foster indicated such an act could be a possibility, as long as there is also respect for the Ulster Scots, the Orange and the British cultures.

​Read more at RTÉ News and Current Affairs

Website about the LANGSCAPE conference online

  Langscape conference

The LANGSCAPE conference, to be held on October 12 - 14, 2017 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, now has a website:

The website includes a registration form, where you may register for the conference, and offers information about the conference themes, keynote speakers, the conference venue, and travel information.

Interesting Links

May edition of the COMBI newsletter published. The newsletter relates the activities of the COMBI project.

Recommendations for promoting local languages in Nagaland, India. Examination of the implementation of language policies and the introduction of local dialects in schools in Nagaland

"Scientific papers should be written in regional language", says India's Union Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Irish language sector needs to ‘reinvent itself’. Senior lecturer in Irish argues language will be saved if opportunists see monetary value.


7 June 2017, San Sebastian/Donostia (Spain): Multiplier Event, organized by the COMBI project.

7 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.

12 - 14 October 2017, Leeuwarden (Netherlands) Langscape Conference and Board of Director’s meeting, hosted by Mercator Research Centre.

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

19 - 21 October 2017, Alcanena (Portugal) Communities in Control, Learning tools and strategies for multilingual endangered language communities, organized by SOAS, CIDLeS en Mercator Research Centre.

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.