ELL: call for papers

Jokin Garatea garatea at GAIA.ES
Wed Feb 16 17:39:51 UTC 2000

Multilinguae congress. A way to promote the use of ITs, Multimedia and
Language industries in lesser used languages. San Sebastian, Spain 8-9
November 2000.

Please forward this notice to any people/lists interested in this
proposed event to be held in San Sebastian, Spain.

Papers and/or workshops (of up to 30-45 minutes duration) from
academics, software and multimedia developers and distributors, experts
in the digital distribution channel and information organisations
(including libraries, government, and the private sector) are sought for
presentation at the congress. All papers & presentations should be
designed for non-specialist audiences, and connect theory and practice.

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to me directly
(garatea at gaia.es) for consideration by the committee, before end of
march (31st of March).


Within the European Union, there are more than 40 autochthonous
languages in everyday use. Of these, only 11 are official languages of
the Union: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek,
Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. In addition, Irish is a
"treaty language".

Of Europe's 370 million citizens, nearly 50 million speak a language
other than the official language of the State in which they live. These
other languages are an integral part of our cultural heritage. They
include some of the oldest languages in the Western world, and most of
them have rich cultural, literary and folk traditions.

Technology is simply one of the tools with which we involve as community
members in learning and using minority languages in our daily lives. It
is also a link with the culture that surrounds most of us today and
which is so attractive to the younger generations. What we would like to
present, briefly in this Congress is that new technologies have, among
others, the potential to:

* Document and promote culture and minority speech
* Help to revitalise language
* Promote the status of the language as a viable medium of communication
expand and strengthen minority language communities by creating an
audience and purpose for writing in minority languages
* Make Minority language resources available beyond educational
* Expedite production and distribution of relevant, quality Minority
language materials and resources.
* Provide opportunities to create multimedia projects
* Excite learners to become motivated, engaged in the learning process
and producers in the target language.
* Aspects of multi-modal capability include integrated text, sound, and
graphics which are suitable for a range of learner types
* Increase student-student communication and collaboration
* Enhance and expand instructional strategies
* Build upon/enhance existing and effective pedagogy
* Promote literacy skills
* Promote computer literacy. Computers add to the study of minority
language, and computer skills that are learned transfer to other courses
and aspects of students' lives.

For all the above mentioned we must have a clear idea of the following
* The market is there. 50 million of potential European users/buyers, as
minority speakers.
* The industry is there but a bit dispersed and not very well known.

The organisation of the Multilinguae International Congress, which is
organised by GAIA, the Telecommunications Cluster of the Basque Country
and co-financed by the European Commission (DG XXII), intends, on the
one side, to facilitate contacts between small and medium European
companies, technologists, content providers,  and researchers belonging
to the Multimedia and Software sector working for Minority or endangered
languages (if we are talking about IT, apart from English almost all
languages of the world), and, on the other side, to provoke the
utilisation of this Multimedia tools by the education, administration
bodies and end users coming from minority communities.

The general objective of the MULTILINGUAE congress is to develop
channels, links and activities between institutions representing similar
collectives in different cultural and geographical areas where minority
languages are spoken for interchange of experiences, best practices and
for the realisation of joint actions with a view to promoting Multimedia
Development and the Linguistic Diversity of the EU. All this, providing:
competitive expansion of the companies of the sector, the development of
new business activities, promotion of employment and innovation in the
creation of support infrastructures for the European Linguistic
Diversity and for technological and socio-economic development, by
giving incentives to investment in research, training and inter-regional
and inter-company co-operation.

Why to organise the multilinguae international congress.

It will take more than conferences to keep most European Minority
Languages from becoming extinct. If all it took was conferences, then
the minority languages would not be in the sad condition that most of
them are in now because many of them have been exposed to conferences
before. If not conferences, what then? Lots of different approaches have
been tried. These are not startling innovations; what we need is a
critical mass of committed people, and this critical mass can only be
created through continuous capillary infiltration of information and
encouragement. This conference is intended to be a part of such an
effort. It will be disseminated not only to those who attended of the
sessions, but to a much wider audience consisting of Minority and
non-Minority individuals and institutions because of its needed market
oriented approach.


Jokin Garatea

Jokin Garatea                         GAIA
International Department              C\ Camino Portuetxe, 14
Email: garatea at gaia.es                Edificio Ibaeta 1
                                      20018, San Sebastian
                                      Tel. +34 943 31 66 66
                                      Fax. +34 943 31 10 66

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