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Positive public hearing Minority Safepack

Having gathered the support of over 1,1 million signatories in 28 European member states, the organisers of the Minority Safepack Initiative finally had the opportunity to present their proposals in the presence of the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. This initiative on how EU law could promote minority rights, and linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe, was presented by representatives from FUEN and politicians from European minority language regions. It was received with a powerfully positive feedback during a Public Hearing session organised in Brussels. "Minority rights are part of the fundamental rights and they are a European value," saind FUEN-president Loránt Vincze. "Through the EU policies and financing we can support our minorities to feel respected, protected, and equal".

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Dutch Sign Language officially recognised

On 13 October, the Dutch Senate accepted a Sign Language Recognition Act. The core of this law is the legal recognition of NGT (Dutch Sign Language) as an official language in the Netherlands, in addition to Dutch and Frisian. This recognition means that deaf people have the right to use the NGT and receive information in the NGT. In addition, the bill also wants to promote the use of the NGT.

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Occitan in danger with less than 600k speakers

According to a survey by the Public Office of the Occitan Language, carried out in the regions of Occitania, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Val d'Aran, Occitan is 'in serious danger of extinction'. Only 7% of the people questioned can speak Occitan without any difficulty. That percentage represents 540.000 Occitan speakers. In Toulouse, the region's capital, only 2% speaks Occitan.

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Campaign: 'When you speak, you do magic!'

The Voluntariat per la Llengua (VxL) is a program to practice Catalan through conversation, based on the creation of volunteer/ apprentice language pairs. They recently launched the campaign 'When you speak, you do magic' (#QuanParlesFasMàgia) in television commercials, radio spots, and traveling exhibitions, to celebrate the 150,000 (!) language pairs formed since 2003.

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Webinar: Minority languages in the digital age

As part of the European Week of Regions and Cities, the Trøndelags Europakontor/ Mid-Norway European Office hosted a webinar to explore how thinking digital can help empower minority language users in their everyday life. Cor van der Meer (project manager Mercator European Research Centre/ Fryske Akademy) was invited to join the international discussion panel.

Watch the webinar

Language awareness in foreign language education

Most of the studies in the context of foreign language teaching look at specific aspects of language learning, such as grammar, pronunciation or language skills (e.g. reading or writing), states Ellen van den Broek in her dissertation 'Language awareness in foreign language education: Exploring teachers' beliefs, practices and change processes'. However, few studies exist in which teachers' views and teaching practices related to language awareness as approach within foreign language education are examined. With her research, Van den Broek provides more insight into the views of teachers around language awareness, the presence of language awareness in existing teaching practices, changes in beliefs about language awareness and changes in teaching practices using a language awareness approach. She concludes that teachers have different views on the meaning of language awareness and various examples of language awareness can already be found in current foreign language education. Curriculum renewal in foreign language teaching should therefore not only be controlled from above, but could also be implemented by teachers from the field. Early October, Ellen van der Broek obtained her PhD degree at the Radboud University Nijmegen (NL).

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'Spanish language for administrative use'

The Spanish Supreme Court ratifies the prohibition of the administrative use of Valencian in the communication with autonomies 'of the same linguistic scope': the Balearic Islands and Catalonia. It confirmed the partial annulment of a 2017 decree on the use of Valencian.

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Online events on multilingual classrooms

The Erasmus+ project VirtuLApp organises two online events. On 13 November, the subject is 'Multilingual Primary Schools' with presentations on purilingualism and translanguaging. On 7 January 2021, the subject is 'Multilingual Classrooms', with talks about multilingual teaching in Europe.

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Special journal on language and dialects

The journal 'Language and dialects: hopes for Catalan, Galician and Basque' is published by the University of Barcelona. It is dedicated to sociolinguistic and language policy issues, and to dialectological aspects. The journal features articles from different members of the Mercator Network partner CUSC-UB.

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First radio station in Venetian language

Veneteo Radio is the first radio station in the Venetian language. DJ Paolo Zambon was inspired by his 12-year old daughter, realising that young people needed to be educated in their mother tongue. You can listen to the radio station via the website or by downloading the app.

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Occitan or Catalan?

Amans and Clar tell you in Occitan what Catalan is

Ivory Coast

Nouchi is one of the world's newest languages


POSTPONED, NEW DATES T.B.A.: 2 - 3 November 2020, Valetta (Malta)
International Conference on Multilingualism and Multilingual Education 2020 (ICMME4)
Organised by the University of Malta.

ONLINE: 12 - 13 November 2020, Madrid (Spain)
2nd International Conference on Bilingualism, Heritage Languages and Migration
Organised by Lengua y Sociedad of the Facultad de Filología, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.

ONLINE: 13 November 2020, Dublin (Ireland)
VirtuLApp multiplier event: Multilingual Primary Schools
Organised by Trinity College Dublin and the Erasmus+ project VirtuLApp.

ONLINE: 23 - 27 November 2020, Paris (France)
ENROPE’s second Intensive Study Week
Organised by the ENROPE consortium, hosted by the University Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris.

ONLINE: 3 - 4 December 2020, Hamburg (Germany)
Online symposium: Language Education and Multilingualism
Organised by the Faculty of Education of the University of Hamburg.

ONLINE: 3 - 4 December 2020, Milan (Italy)
Imagining the Future of Multilingualism: Education and Society at a Turning Point
Organised by the Università Cattolica.

ONLINE: 18 December 2020, Istanbul (Turkey)
ENROPE Multiplier Event: Towards a shared culture of professional identity development (seminar & workshop)
Organised by the ENROPE consortium, hosted by the İstanbul Üniversitesi-Cerrahpaşa.

Dates to be announced, 2021, Zurich (Switzerland)
Symposium on Research Methods in Language Attitudes
Organised by the University of Zurich

ONLINE: 7 January 2021, Gent (Belgium)
VirtuLApp multiplier event: Multilingual Classrooms
Organised by UC Leuven-Limburg and the Erasmus+ project VirtuLApp.

24 - 26 March 2021, Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain)
18th International Conference on Minority Languages (ICML XVIII)
Organised by the University of the Basque Country.

5-7 May 2021, Murcia (Spain)
13th International GLAT Congress: Le monde connecté et les approches interculturelles: vers un nouveau paradigme des frontières ?
Organised by the University of Murcia

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

26 - 28 May 2021, Zadar (Croatia)
New Contexts for the Use of Minoritized Languages/Varieties (NEWCON 2020)
* New Call for Papers: 1 November 2020 - 15 January 2021.
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).

June 2021, Groningen (Netherlands)
TABU - International linguistics conference
Organised by Center for Language and Cognition, University of Groningen.

30 June 2021 - 3 July 2021, Barcelona (Spain)
30th Conference of the European Second Language Association (EuroSLA)
Organised by University of Barcelona/ EuroSLA.

5 - 8 July 2021, Athens (Greece)
14th Annual International Conference on Languages & Linguistics
* Deadline Call for Papers: 7 December 2020.
Hosted by the Athens Institute for Education and Research.

15 - 20 August 2021, Groningen (the Netherlands)
AILA 2020: World Congress of Applied Linguistics
Organised by the University of Groningen, Multilingual Matters and others.

6 - 8 September 2021, Graz (Austria)
Language Teacher Psychology Conference 2021 (LTP)
Organised by the University of Graz.

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