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Number 140 - May 2018

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.

Comments and suggestions: Inge Heslinga (Mercator/ Fryske Akademy).


BIG cities, small LANGUAGES

  Aerztehaus Berlin-Treptow

The Mercator Research Centre, the SOAS World Languages Institute (UK), the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation and the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft cordially invite you to join the International Conference on “Big Cities, Small Languages”.

The conference will take place on November 14-16 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

“Big Cities, Small Languages” should be a forum of exchange of information that includes the following topics:

* How do small languages fare in multilingual urban contexts?
* How do big cities deal with small languages? How are they recognized in political representation, in the school system, and generally, in the culture of the cities?
* How do speakers of small languages consider their own linguistic situation?
* How do the languages influence each other, which forms of code switching and creolization can we observe?

More information:
Deadline for abstract submission: 15th July 2018.

1.2 Million people signed the Minority SafePack petition!

Minority Safepack

Over 1.2 million European citizens signed the Minority SafePack petition. That means that 1.2 million citizens of a EU Member State call upon the European Union to improve the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities and strengthen cultural and linguistic diversity in the Union.

The Minority SafePack Initiative includes policy actions in the areas of regional and minority languages, education and culture, regional policy, participation, equality, audio visual and other media content, and also regional (state) support.


Massive Open Online Course on Frisian Language


A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about the Frisian language is launched! This four-week online course, written in English, has been developed by Afûk and Mercator/ Fryske Akademy.

The MOOC is free of charge and online available for everyone around the world to participate. The MOOC mainly focuses on learning the basic principles of the language, but also includes a taste of Frisian culture in the curriculum. Cultural aspects covered include Frisian theatre and Frisian as family language.

Subscribe now at!
More information on the MOOC project:

COMBI publishes its first product, and organises its next Multiplier Event on June 12 in Palermo

Minority Safepack

The COMBI project has published online its first product: A report on migrants and the role of the minority language in healthcare: A theoretical and practical analysis.

The product consists of two parts:
* A review of the available literature on the use of minority languages in the health care sector
* Results from a survey held by COMBI among 216 participants across the 5 regions of the COMBI partners.

The COMBI project is a four-year project, with six European partners, financed by Erasmus+. It develops innovative and inclusive methods focused on acquiring language skills for the workplace. All methods make sure the regional language is taken into consideration. All its products are published under an open license.

Every year COMBI organizes a multiplier event: the upcoming event will be held June 12 in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. During a full-day conference, COMBI will present its work, and guest speakers will introduce themes related to minority languages and health care.
If you are interested in participating the event, please send an email to Dario Ferrante of Danilo Dolci, COMBI’s partner in Sicily.

More information: COMBI Facebook and COMBI Twitter.

New Regional Dossiers on Gaelic and Danish in Germany

  Regional Dossiers

Two new Regional Dossiers were added to the the online knowledge base of the Mercator Research Centre in the last weeks.

The Regional Dossier on The Gaelic Language in Education in Scotland is written by professor Boyd Robertson, principal at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI (National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture). Robertson originally compiled the dossier in 2001 and updated it in 2017.

The Regional Dossier on The Danish language in education in Germany is written by dr. Jørgen Kühl, professor at the Europa-University of Flensburg and the chairman of the executive board of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) in Flensburg.

More than 50 Regional Dossiers are now online:

Europe recommends a more structured language policy to Austria, Cyprus, Romania

  Council of Europe

The Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe’s statutory decision-making body, provided recommendations to Romania, Cyprus and Austria, after examining the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The Charter covers languages such as Burgenland-Croatian and Czech in Austria, the Armenian and Maronite Arabic in Cyprus and Romani and Tatar in Romania. All three countries need a more structured policy for the protection and promotion of the minority languages, especially in teaching and broadcasting.

The reports can be read here: Austria / Cyprus / Romania.

North-East Scots Language Board launched

  NorthEast Scots Language Board

On March 27 the North-East Scots Language Board was launched in Aberdeen. This body aims to promote the Doric and North-East Scots language and culture in civic life, education and the media.

Members of the board are representatives from the University of Aberdeen, the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and the Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus Councils.

The North-East Scots Language Board can be described as a “network, providing support for those with an interest in promoting North-East Scots language and culture”, according to Thomas McKean, Director of the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen. By aiming to make North-East Scots more visible in daily life, the Board wants to show that native language speakers can be succesful in all aspects of life.


Approval for transfer of national minority schools to the Latvian language of instruction


On April 2nd the Latvian president Vejonis approved the transfer of national minority schools to the Latvian language of instruction. Vejonis wants to "ensure equal opportunities for all young people to get a quality education and build their life in Latvia".

The education reform is a gradual process. By 2020-2021, students of 10-11th grades at secondary schools will be trained in the state language, and in another year, the new rules will apply to all other grades. EUR 3.6 million was allocated for the support and additional training of teachers.


Children's protest for the survival of Diwan


On April 14, over 400 children and parents came together on the streets of Lannion, France, to ask for a durable solution for the schools of Diwan, a federation of Breton-medium schools in Brittany.

The Diwan concept allows children to learn French and Breton through language immersion and now the French government is planning budget cuts for non-teaching staff (for canteens, extracurricular..).

Stéphanie Stoll, president of the Diwan network, says that there are three months left to convince the government, and fortunately she has been able to attract support from elected officials. The next mobilization will take place in Rennes on May 26th.


Interesting Links

* About the consensus in the scholar linguistic model in Catalonia: reflections from a survey” (“Sobre el consenso en torno al modelo lingüístico escolar en Cataluña: reflexiones a partir de una encuesta”).
Publication by F. Xavier Vila, director Centre de Recerca en Sociolingüística i Comunicació, Universitat de Barcelona (CUSC-UB).
In: Politikon; March 2018.

* New funding of £2.5m for next phase of Gaelic dictionary.
BBC News; 24 April 2018.

* Language education in a national school abroad in a bilingual society: a case of Japanese school in Catalonia.
Publication by Makiko Fukuda; Centre de Recerca en Sociolingüística i Comunicació, Universitat de Barcelona (CUSC-UB).
In: Language and Intercultural Communication; April 2018.

* Welsh language row over Anglesey school closures plan.
BBC News; 23 April 2018.

* International Roma Day: How the European Union supports the study of Roma culture, language and history
By: Magdalena Pasikowska-Schnass
European Parliament Think Tank

* What the Skype translator can't do for Microsoft global partners
By: Sue Troy
SearchITChannel - TechTarget

* Kontseilua ha presentado una dinámica para redactar la nueva Ley del Euskara de Nafarroa basada en la colaboración

* Situation with protection of Armenian language improves in Cyprus

* Bilingual college fair in Round Lake helps parents 'learn what doors can be opened for their children'
By Yadira Sanchez Olson
Chicago Tribune - Lake County

* Manifestación pola Oficialidá'l 21 d'abril

* Presentation and discussion of the book “The voice of the teachers”, by F. Xavier Vila, Vanessa Bretxa and Llorenç Comajoan, CUSC researchers.
Blog post by CUSC.


3 - 5 May 2018, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
Contested Languages in the Old World 3.
Organized by the University of Amsterdam.

9 - 10 May 2018, Agadir (Morocco)
1st International Conference on Multilingualism and Multilingual Education.
Organized by the The laboratory of Values, Society and Development (LVSD).

21 - 22 May 2018, Manchester (United Kingdom)
Multilingual Landscapes: Planning, Policy, and Contact Linguistic Perspectives.
Organized by Multilingual Manchester (University of Manchester).

7 - 8 June 2018, Vilnius (Lithuania)
The FIPLV Nordic-Baltic Region (NBR) Conference 2018: Teaching and Learning Languages in the 21st Century.
Organized by Vilnius University and Language Teachers' Association of Lithuania (LKPA).

9 - 10 June 2018, Warsaw (Poland)
Understanding Multilingualism.
Organized by the Institute of Specialised and Intercultural Communication (University of Warsaw) and Polish Association of Applied Linguistics (PTLS).

18 - 20 June 2018, Stockholm (Sweden)
Exploring Language Eduation: Global and Local Perspectives.
Organized by the Department of Language Education at Stockholm University.

20 - 24 June 2018, Leeuwarden (The Netherlands)
Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) Congress 2018.
Organized by FUEN and the Council of the Frisian Movement.

4 - 6 July 2018, Soria (Spain)
4th International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity, in School in Society.
Organized by Loyola Marymount University School of Education.

16 - 19 July 2018, Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)
HIGA! - 2nd Summit of Young Speakers of Minoritized Languages, official summer course.
Organized by the University of the Basque Country.

23 - 25 August 2018, Reykjavík (Iceland)
Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages: Endangered Languages and the Land - Mapping Landscapes of Multilingualism.
Deadline abstract submission 20 May 2018, full papers 15 July 2018.
Organized by Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding (University of Reykjavík) and the Foundation for Endangered Languages.

30 August - 1 September 2018, Malta
Multilingual Education in Linguistically Diverse Contexts 2018.
Organized by the University of Malta.

12 - 13 September 2018, Birmingham (United Kingdom)
French in Multilingual Urban Centres.
Organized by the Aston University.

13 - 15 September 2018, Lissabon (Spain)
XIth International Conference on Multilingualism and Third Language Acquisition.
Organized by the University of Lisbon.

27 - 28 September 2018, Sestri Levante, Genoa (Italy)
3rd International Conference on the Sociolinguistics of Immigration (Slimig2018).
Organized by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Modern Cultures of the University of Turin.

14 - 16 November 2018, Berlin (Germany)
Big Cities, Small Languages.
Deadline for submissions: 15 July 2018.
Organized by The SOAS World Languages Institute (UK), Mercator Research Centre, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation and the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft.

22 - 24 November 2018, Talinn (Estonia)
Multilingual Awareness and Multilingual Practices (MAMP18).
Organized by Tallinn University, School of Humanities.

25 - 27 March 2019, Valetta (Malta)
2nd International Conference on Bilingualism
Organized by University of Malta.