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Number 134 - July 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

Second Teach-D partner meeting at EURAC Bolzano, Italy

  EURAC teachD meeting

On the 13th of July 2017 the second partner meeting of the project Teaching in Diversity took place at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC), Italy.

Roberta Medda (EURAC) welcomed all partners in a sunny and warm Bolzano. Zora Popova (ECMI, leading partner) led the meeting. Goal of the meeting was to discuss the output of the first phase of the project, provided and presented that day by EURAC, ECMI and Mercator.

In the next phase this content, consisting of 6 sections of background texts, will be adapted into 6 training modules for teacher training created by WETCO, APE and Liceul Alexandria, with academic support from Mercator. The next partner meeting will take place in Poland on 13 and 14 November 2017.

More information about the Teaching in Diversity project.

Strategy launched to double the number of Welsh speakers by 2050


A strategy to double the number of Welsh speakers to 1 million by 2050 has been published by the Welsh Government. To hit this target, a plan to increase Welsh medium education by a third over the next 14 years has been announced.

The intention is for 70% of all pupils to be fluent in Welsh by the time they leave school in 2050. There will be 150 more Welsh-medium nursery groups created over the next decade, as well as plans to recruit significantly more Welsh-speaking teachers in order to cope with demand. As part of the proposals, pupils in English-medium schools will have to devote more time learning the Welsh language. The full details of the plan will not be known until the new curriculum is finalised before its expected implementation in 2021.

"Reaching a million speakers is a deliberately ambitious target to achieve so that the Welsh language thrives for future generations," First Minister Carwyn Jones said. If the expansion is achieved, it would mark the biggest increase in recent years. Mr Jones has called on the entire nation to take ownership of the language in order to meet the target. The pledge has attracted cross-party support at the Welsh national assembly. Though the Conservatives stated ministers would need to persuade people and communities of the benefits of bilingualism.

Read more on the BBC website

Results published from the “Measurement of the Street Use of Languages, Basque Country, 2016”

  basque per age group

Data published by the Soziolinguistika Klusterra suggests that, generally speaking, the street use of the Basque language in the Basque Country has decreased slightly from 13,7 to 12,6% over the last ten years. It also shows that women use Basque more than men, and the younger the speaker, the more Basque is used.

Over the last twenty-seven years (1989-2016), the use of the Basque language by children, young people and adults has evolved favourably. In contrast, the usage by the elderly has continuously declined. A slight decline over the last ten years is reported for all age groups. The presence of children strongly affects the street use of the Basque language: the highest usage is observed when children and grownups are together. In conversations among children, intermediate use is reported. The lowest usage observed was between grownups when no children were present

Download the report here.

International Conference on the Protection of Regional or Minority Languages in Europe


The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will organise a conference on 13-14 November 2017 on the protection of identity through language rights. The conference will take place in Budapest twenty-five years after the opening for signature of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Strasbourg and will provide an opportunity to promote the Charter, discuss current issues and to take a fresh look at the obstacles of increasing the number of ratifications.

In order to promote the ratification of the Charter a special emphasis is placed on inviting representatives from countries that have not yet ratified it.

More information about the conference
Source: Council of Europe website

Breton medium school opening in Châteaubriant in 2018


The project to initiate a Breton medium school was launched July 21 by the municipality of Châteaubriant, the public office for the Breton language, and the French Department for National Education. The project is the result of several requests from local families.

It is not the first school in Brittany offering Breton medium, but it is in the direct vicinity of Châteaubriant. The precise location of the school is yet unknown. It will offer courses from the national education program in two languages: French, and Breton. The first step will be a kindergarten class opening for toddlers. Then, each year, as the children grow older, additional classes will open up. At the moment, six children are already enrolled. To attract additional students, a public meeting will be held in the fall.

Today, 16,000 children are enrolled in bilingual French-Breton schools and this number is rising: student numbers in Brittany grew by 60% in 10 years and new establishments open each year.


Indigenous languages development act takes effect in Taiwan


An act to promote and preserve the languages of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes took effect on June 14, furthering efforts to protect the nation’s diverse aboriginal cultures and facilitate transitional justice for indigenous peoples.

The law designates the languages of the country’s 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes as national languages of the Republic of China (Taiwan). It also requires the government to establish a foundation dedicated to researching and supporting indigenous languages as well as assisting in the development of more comprehensive writing systems and dictionaries. Under the act, indigenous peoples can use the dialects in legislative and legal affairs. Local government agencies in aboriginal areas, which comprise 55 townships across the country, can also compose official documents in indigenous languages as well as in Chinese.

The languages act is the third enacted in Taiwan aimed at advancing aboriginal rights and cultures, following the promulgation of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law in 2005 and the Indigenous Traditional Intellectual Creations Protection Act in 2007.

Read more on the Taiwan news website.

Only a few places for the LANGSCAPE conference left

  langscape conference

October 12 to 14 the LANGSCAPE conference Multilingualism: minority & majority perspectives will take place in in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

Those who wish to present their work, need to send in their proposals before August 18. Please keep in mind that only a few presentation slots are left. Abstracts can be mailed to either C. van der Meer or I. Sachdev.

The LANGSCAPE conference Multilingualism: minority & majority perspectives will focus on identities, perceptions, and behaviour in the field of multilingualism. More information is available on the LANGSCAPE conference website

Visit the conference website.

Interesting Links

New app helps Egypt's Nubians retain traditional tongue, article in Egypt Pulse by Menna A. Farouk.

Sound atlas of France's regional langages.

The European Dictionary Portal, curated by experts in the European Network of e-Lexicography. Also includes dictionaries in some of Europe's minority languages.

Udmurt State University (Russia) invites proposals for papers in the journal “Multilingualism and Education,” issue IX.

The mysterious origins of Europe's oldest language, article on BBC Travel by Anna Bitong.

Can you bring a language back from the dead?, The protection of dying languages is a matter of justice, claims Ross Perlin, article by Manchán Magan in the Irish Times.


23 - 36 August, Rabat (Marocco) African Languages in a Global World: From Description to State Policies.

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.

8 - 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.

15 September 2017, Leeds (UK) Language Learning and Teaching Conference: Developing Speaking Skills.

19 - 21 September 2017, Toruń (Poland) The Common European Framework of Reference in Tertiary Education System – Interpretations and Implementations.

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

12 - 14 October 2017, Leeuwarden (Netherlands) Langscape Conference and doctoral seminar, hosted by Mercator Research Centre.

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

18 - 20 October 2017, Freiburg (Germany) 3rd Saami Linguistics Symposium.

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.

13 - 14 November 2017, Budapest (Hungary) International Conference on the Protection of Regional or Minority Languages in Europe, organized by the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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

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

1 - 3 February 2018, Dublin (UK) International Conference on Language, Identity and Education in Multilingual Contexts (LIEMC18), held at Marino Institute of Education, Trinity College Dublin.

23 - 26 April 2018, Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) 1st Conference on Frisian Humanities, organized by the Fryske Akademy.

18 - 20 June 2018, Stockholm (Sweden) Exploring Language Eduation: Global and Local Perspectives.