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Stay home, stay healthy and stay strong!

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all. Ourselves, our families, our friends, our work. Our entire society has almost come to a standstill. Despite all the concerns, we decided to create this Mercator Network newsletter to inform and entertain you, just as you are used to. Stay home, stay healthy and stay strong!

The Mercator Network

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Sociolinguistic perspectives on COVID-19

Call for Papers! The journal Multilingua is looking for research submissions from sociolinguists engaged with the language challenges posed by COVID-19 in any context. What are the needs of multilingual populations and how these needs –or not– being addressed. Abstract deadline: 6 April.

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Special font family for the Cymraeg language

For the first time, a font family is developed that gives an accurate, digital expression to the Cymraeg language. The Cymru Wales font is made by design studio Smörgåsbord, the project was commissioned by the Welsh government as part of a wider rebrand of the country's visual identity.

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Training and tools for language teachers (LSPs)

On behalf of the EU Project CATAPULT (Computer-Assisted Training And Platforms to Upskill Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) Teachers), we would like to inform you about the project results, including the reports ‘LSP Teachers: Needs for Skills and Training’ and ‘Towards a Common Competence Framework’. These could be realised thanks to all professionals who participated in their 2018 survey, mapping the needs of (language) teachers with respect to professional LSP teaching in Europe. Furthermore, the project team gladly reports on the successful run of the first edition of the free online course (MOOC) based on the competence framework started on January 27, 2020. Watch this video to get a sneak peek at what course participants could expect. Those interested are advised to keep on eye on the project's website, as another edition will be published later this year. Read more in Catapults latest newsletter or follow them on Twitter.

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Disappointment by French bill on regional languages

The bill on the protection and promotion of regional languages ​​was adopted in the French National Assembly. The text had been considerably reduced in committee. Martinique MP Josette Manin expressed his disappointment for the Overseas Territories.

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Automatic translator of Aragonese texts

The Government of Aragon presented an Aragonese/ Spanish translator and a vocal synthesizer. The translator, Traduze, will be able to interpret a web page, text or document. The vocal synthesizer is for people with audiovisual difficulties.

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NPLD: Open letter to the Council of Europe

The Network to promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) sent an open letter to the Council of Europe. Whilst recognising the achievements to date, the NPLD notes that the progress expected is still far from being reached and that the tenets of the European Charter for Regional of Minority Languages are yet to be realised in several Member States.

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‘Success stories’ of highly skilled refugees in the UK

Sara Ganassin and Tony Johnstone Young (Newcastle University) published an article in 'Language and Intercultural Communication', following the Erasmus+ project Critical Skills for Life and Work. They emphasise the importance of motivation and resilience, and of (re)building social networks in professional (re)integration.

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#NativeLanguagesOfRussia for linguistic protection

Russian children recite poems in their native language (Russian)(English)

'Learning English was pretty hard'

Children could need at least six years to learn English

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"Educate children in their mother tongue"

Children from linguistic minorities should be taught in their own mother tongue, said the UN independent expert on minority issues Fernand de Varennes. This is not only necessary for inclusive, quality education but also to respect the human rights of all children.

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Fight for Ireland’s deaf community in education

The Irish Sign Language is the primary language of the deaf community in Ireland, and approximately 40,000 people use it to communicate. The education system in Ireland has only until recently begun to recognise the language’s validity.

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Multilingualism in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine

In the Euregional Terra Mosana project, different municipalities, museums, universities and citizens in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion work together. They asked residents to record the same sentences, to show the richness of the languages and dialects between Meuse and Rhine.

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From Arabic to Zulu: freely available digital tales

The University of British Columbia developed the open multilingual literacy portal Global Storybooks. This portal hosts custom sites with multilingual open-licensed books for over 40 countries and regions, and aims to support the development of mother tongue literacy, bilingualism, and multilingualism.

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POSTPONED: 6 - 8 May 2020 (14 - 16 October 2020), Murcia (Spain)
13th International GLAT Congress: Le monde connecté et les approches interculturelles: vers un nouveau paradigme des frontières ?
Organised by Faculty of Letters, University of Murcia

POSTPONED: 25 - 27 May 2020 (10 - 12 May 2021), Paris (France)
Minority languages spoken or signed and inclusive spaces
Organised by INSHEA.

11 - 12 June 2020, Groningen (Netherlands)
TABU - International linguistics conference
* Deadline Call for Papers: 19 march 2020
Organised by Center for Language and Cognition, University of Groningen.

18 - 19 June 2020, Flensburg (Germany)
International Conference on Multilingual Practice (ICOMP)
Organised by European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) and the Danish Central Library for South Schleswig (DCBIB)

22 June - 3 July 2020, Bolzano (Italy)
Summer School on Human Rights, Minorities and Diversity Governance
Organised by Eurac Research

ONLINE: 23 June - 25 June 2020, Reading (United Kingdom)
Conference on Multilingualism (COM) 2020
Organised by University of Reading

CANCELLED: 1 - 3 July 2020, Soria (Spain)
6th International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity, in Schools and Society
Organised by the Loyola Marymount University School of Education

POSTPONED: 2 - 3 July 2020, Zurich (Switzerland)
Symposium on Research Methods in Language Attitudes
Organised by the University of Zurich

6 - 7 July 2020, Athens (Greece)
13th Annual International Conference on Languages & Linguistics
Hosted by the Athens Institute for Education and Research

9 - 14 August 2020, Groningen (the Netherlands)
AILA 2020: World Congress of Applied Linguistics
Organised by the University of Groningen, Multilingual Matters and others.

28 - 30 September 2020, Zadar (Croatia)
New Contexts for the Use of Minoritized Languages/Varieties (NEWCON 2020)
* Deadline Call for Papers EXTENDED: 15 MAY 2020.
Organised by by the Linguistics Department of the University of Zadar,the SOAS World Languages Institute, Mercator European Research Centre and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation (CIDLes).

29 - 30 October 2020, Meknès (Morocco)
Interdisciplinary colloquium: “La désuétude au carrefour des savoirs : De la langue à la culture”
* Deadline Call for Papers: 30 April 2020.
Organised by the University Moulay Ismail.

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