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Low Saxon recognized as 'essential' in Dutch covenant

"Low Saxon connects people in various regions. Today we say to them: we believe that the maintenance of your regional language is important," said the Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Kajsa Ollongren. Together with the regional directors of the Northeast Netherlands she signed a Covenant on the Dutch recognition of the regional Low Saxon (in Dutch: Nedersaksisch) language.
In the covenant, the Minister recognizes Low Saxon as an "essential, full and independent part of the language system within the Netherlands". The number of speakers in The Netherlands is estimated at 1.5 million. The signing of the covenant does not automatically mean that Lower Saxon gets the same status as, for example, the Frisian language. Provinces and municipalities involved can pursue their own policies for Low Saxon, but rights can not be derived from this recognition. Governments will coordinate their efforts on the Low Saxon language in order to learn from each other's good examples. The authorities will also look at how they can work together towards the Low Saxon-speaking regions in North-West Germany and the European Union.

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Frisian language under pressure in reclassifications

Are reclassifications at municipal level a threat or a chance for Frisian language policy? The Mercator Research Centre tried to answer this question in a new research report by focusing on the role of the Frisian language in the reclassifications of four Frisian municipalities. Researchers Schukking and Klinkenberg state that reclassifications often lead to compromises and in some cases to deterioration of Frisian language policy. They found that Frisian municipalities vary greatly from another when it comes to Frisian language policy; financial resources and hours that are spend on Frisian language policy are different from municipality to municipality.

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Concerns about minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities states in a new report about Bosnia and Herzegovina that "national minorities are institutionally discriminated against and unable to fully participate in political processes." While acknowledging some progress on Roma issues and emerging potential for moving towards integrated schools, the Committee sees that very little effort has been made to teach minority languages. "There are no publications or broadcasts in these languages and they are not used in relations with the administrative authorities."

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Notes about sociolinguistics and language policy

The Centre de Recerca en Sociolingüística i Comunicació (CUSC) presents a new initiative to spread the results of the scientific production by CUSC researchers. Every month, CUSC will publish a bulletin called 'Notes about sociolinguistics and language policy', so the Catalan community gets an idea about the situation of Catalan and people involved in language policy work with a sharper image of the sociolinguistic situation. The first edition is called 'The shift to Secondary School: does the usage of Catalan really decrease?', based on an article by Xavier Vila, Vanessa Bretxa, Josep Ubalde and Llorenç Comajoan.

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Repovesi - by M. Passinen, Wiki CC-BY-SA 3.0

More awareness for minority languages in Finland

The Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages writes in its fifth report on the application of the Charter in Finland that "many reforms are to be implemented", but "despite these positive examples, concern has been expressed by the representatives of the minority language speakers." There are shortcomings in the use of Swedish by authorities and in healthcare, and there are still problems with language training in the Sami languages. An action plan for the revival of the Karelian language was launched, but the ECRML recommends that further measures are needed.

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'Integration Latvian national minorities hampered'

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities urged Latvian authorities to encourage integration and participation of national minorities and combat discrimination of the Roma. The Committee is pleased to see the recent efforts to provide Latvian language classes as well as opportunities for minority language instruction, and the support to national minority cultural centres and media outlets in languages spoken by national minorities. However, the Committee notes that a number of policies promoting Latvian language in education, the media and the public sector restrain the right of persons belonging to minorities to learn and speak their minority languages.

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Colloquium on Languages, Cultures and Identity

The fifth International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity in Schools and Society will be held in Soria, Spain from July 3-5, 2019. This edition's subject is about sense of belongingness, fitting in, living between two worlds and new linguistic, educational, ethnic, and cultural realities and needs. The Colloquium revolves around topics such as bi- and multilingualism in families and society, language policies and practices, promotion and development of minority and heritage languages and more. A Call for Propopsals is now open, the deadline is in January. The event is organized by the Loyola Marymount University School of Education (Los Angeles, US), with the support of the City of Soria.

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'Monolinguals accurate, plurilinguals more flexible'

Are bilingual students better language learners? Professor Peter Siemund from Hamburg University tries to answer this question by researching how a student's monolingual repertoire in German or bilingual repertoire in German and another language affect their learning of English. Siemund found that bilingualism is not a unitary phenomenon, but that it depends on which languages are involved. "Multilingualism is often thought to be an advantage for both cognitive development and learning, but, at the same time, cross-linguistic influence research shows that speaking more languages often leads to more negative interference in the learning of subsequent languages."

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Quarrel over bilingual signs in Huesca/Uesca

Is it Huesca or Uesca, or could it be both? The Aragon city likes to welcome you in Spanish and Aragonese with new bilingual signs. Eventhough the City Council and the District of La Hoya de Huesca defend the use of Aragonese, not everybody is pleased with this new initiative. The opposition parties state that the text 'bilingual city' is exaggerated, as research from the University of Zaragoza shows that only 6% of the Aragon population speak Aragonese. Others think that the spelling of Uesca is not the correct Aragonese way of writing the city's name. The regional councelor for Culture and Heritage says that they just wanted to 'make our culture visible and preserve it'.

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20th anniversary for Mercator Network partner CUSC-UB!

CUSC-UB 20 years! CC-BY 3.0 Léna

Click for a larger posterCongratulations to the Centre de Recerca en Sociolingüística i Comunicació (CUSC) at the University of Barcelona with their 20th anniversary!!
"This year we are turning 20, and our Magazine (Llengua, Societat i Comunicació) is turning 15," writes Xavier Mas Craviotto from CUSC. "This is why we will intensify our efforts to envigorate the awareness and discussion about sociolinguistics in our society. We will go on doing our monthly seminar, so that young researchers are able to talk about their projects and discuss them with other researchers. Moreover, we have organized special events from October 2018 to January 2019 where we will be able to discuss current issues and explore new research scopes in sociolinguistics and language policy."
* 16th November 2018: Presentation 'La llengua de la plaça. L'espai públic, el mercat i la política lingüística' by Toni Mollà.
* 31st January 2019: Ferran Suay (Universitat de València and ELEN) about «Res a dir? Què pot aportar la psicologia evolucionista a la comprensió del comportament lingüístic» («Nothing to say? What can evolutionist psychology contribute to the understanding of linguistic behaviour?».
In October, François Vaillancourt (University of Montreal and CIRANO) was invited to talk about «Bill 101 is 40: the status of French in Québec» and CUSC organized a homage to Professor Albert Bastardas, who retired.


14 - 16 November 2018, Berlin (Germany)
Big Cities, Small Languages
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, Tallinn (Estonia)
Multilingual Awareness and Multilingual Practices (MAMP18)
Organized by Tallinn University, School of Humanities.

29 - 30 November 2018, Madrid (Spain)
Language and Society Conference on Bilingualism and Interculturality (BIUNED)
Organized by Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.

29 - 30 November 2018, Madrid (Spain)
II International Conference on Language and Migration (2CILEI-18)
Organized by University of Alcalá.

14 - 16 February 2019, York (United Kingdom)
Language, Identity and Education in Multilingual Contexts (LIEMC19)
* Deadline Call for Papers: 15 November 2018
Organized by University of York.

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

9 - 11 May 2018, Corfu (Greece)
Multilingual Language Theories and Practices (MLTP2019)
* Deadline Call for Papers: 15 January 2019
Organized by MultiLingNet and Ionian University.

15 - 16 May 2019, Hamar (Norway)
Multilingual Childhoods: Education, Policy and Practice (MC 2019)
Organized by Inland Norway University and Oslo Metropolitan University.

21 - 23 May 2019, Bielefeld (Germany)
International Conference on Multilingualism and Multilingual Education (ICMME 19)
* Deadline Call for Papers: 31 December 2018
Organized by Bielefeld University.

22 - 25 May 2019, Leeuwarden (The Netherlands)
17th International Conference on Minority Languages (ICML XVII)
Organized by Mercator Research Centre.

29 - 30 May 2019, Västerås (Sweden)
Interactional Competences and Practices in a Second Language (ICOP-L2)
* Deadline Call for Papers: 18 November 2018
Organized by Mälardalen University.

17 - 19 June 2019, Jyväskylä (Finland)
Thinking, Doing, Learning: Usage based perspectives on second language learning (TDL4)
* Deadline Call for Papers: 5 November 2018
Organized by University of Jyväskylä.

26 - 28 June 2019, Leeuwarden/ Ljouwert (The Netherlands)
International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 10)
Organized by Fryske Akademy.

2 July 2019, Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Ninth Cambridge Conference on Language Endangerment
* Deadline Call for Papers: 7 April 2019
Organized by the University of Cambridge.

3-5 July 2019, Soria (Spain)
Fifth International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity in Schools and Society
* Deadline Call for Papers: 31 January 2019
Organized by the Loyola Marymount University School of Education.

27 - 28 August 2019, Chania (Crete, Greece)
International Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 2019 (ISMBS 2019)
* Deadline Call for Papers: 5 February 2019
Organized by the Institute of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech.

14 - 15 November 2019, Udine (Italy)
2nd International Colloquium on Plurilingualism (2nd ICP )
* Deadline Call for Papers: 30 April 2019
Organized by Udine University / Centro Internazionale sul Plurilinguismo.

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