Dealing with increasing linguistic diversity in multicultural Europe

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Mar 27 21:44:51 UTC 2009

 Forwarded From: Linguistics, Ph.D. Program <linguistics at>

RISLUS Reports: Guus Extra, Tilburg University, the Netherlands

Dealing with increasing linguistic diversity in multicultural Europe

Monday, April 27, 2009


Room C198

Abstract: Linguistic diversity is generally conceived of as a
constituent characteristic of European identity. However, some
languages play a more important role in the European public and
political discourse on “celebrating linguistic diversity”. The
constellation of languages in Europe actually functions as a
descending hierarchy of English as a lingua franca for transnational
communication, the national or “official state” languages of European
countries, regional minority languages and immigrant minority
languages across Europe. Whereas the national languages of Europe are
celebrated most at the EU level, with English increasingly on top,
regional minority languages are celebrated less and immigrant minority
languages least.

Against the background of ongoing processes of globalisation and
international migration, an inclusive perspective will be offered on
the constellation of all of these languages as part of Europe’s
identity. The focus of the talk will be on mapping diversity in
multicultural societies and on dealing with plurilingualism in
education. The following topics will be addressed from these two

Mapping linguistic diversity in multicultural societies

•       methodological issues, concepts and paradigms

•       criteria for the definition and identification of population
groups in multicultural societies

•       types of data bases: census data, register data and survey data

•       mapping diversity in non-European English-dominant immigration countries

•       mapping diversity in European Union countries

Dealing with plurilingualism in education

•       moving away from a monolingual mindset

•       European institutions as agents of plurilingualism

•       attitudes of European citizens towards plurilingualism

•       experiences with plurilingual education for immigrant minority children

•       beyond integration: the enhancement of plurilingual education
for all children

We hope to see you at the talk!

Leigh Garrison

Assistant to the Directors

Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS)

Graduate Center, CUNY

365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016


rislus at

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