SOAS University of London

‘Languages of the Wider World’: Understanding Resilience and Shift


Date: 7 April 2011Time: 12:00 AM

Finishes: 8 April 2011Time: All Day

Venue: Fryske Akademy, Leeuwarden, Friesland, The Netherlands

Type of Event: Conference

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

Keynote Speakers | Call for papers | Registration | Conference Committee

This is the second international conference organised jointly by the MERCATOR European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning of the Fryske Akademy (The Netherlands) and the SOAS-UCL Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning ‘Languages of the Wider World’ (LWW CETL, UK). The conference will take place in the charming city of Leeuwarden, the capital of the bilingual province Fryslân (Netherlands). The venue is the ‘Aljemint’, conference centre of the Fryske Akademy.

All people have the right to learn and use their mother-tongue, and to learn a second and third language. This formal right is often absent and its use in practice is often less well guaranteed and less developed than should be the case, especially for speakers of smaller or lesser used languages variously labelled as ‘regional’, ‘minority’, ‘immigrant’, ‘community’ (including sign languages), ‘heritage’ languages, etc. The conference will focus on theoretical and empirical work in research, teaching and learning of such languages worldwide.

The conference will combine the fields of interest of the partner institutions. The focus of MERCATOR and the Fryske Akademy is on language learning and transmission of Regional and Minority Languages and smaller state languages in Europe. The SOAS-UCL LWW CETL focuses on languages of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and The Netherlands – referred to as ‘languages of the wider world’. This conference will bring together researchers and practitioners from these various fields to define, analyse and explore new directions and paradigms in understanding resilience and shift of regional and minority languages. We warmly invite not only researchers and students, but also policy makers, practitioners and interested others to the conference that aims to provide opportunities for discussion, further research and future collaborations.

Keynote Speakers

Richard Bourhis, Professor of Social Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Ofelia Garcia, Professor of Urban Education, The City University of New York, USA
Waldemar Martyniuk, Executive Director, The European Centre for Modern Languages, Graz, Austria
Ann Pauwels, Professor of Sociolinguistics, SOAS, University of London, UK
Miquel Strubell, Executive Secretary, Linguamón & U.O.C. Chair in Multilingualism, Barcelona, Spain

Call for papers

Proposals are invited for papers in any area of the resilience and shift of regional and minority languages, and those under the following themes would be particularly welcome:

  • Language resilience and shift outside formal educational contexts
  • Multilingual and Multicultural education
  • The role of new technologies and innovation including social media
  • Social benefits & costs of linguistic diversity
  • Cultural aspects of language maintenance and shift

To submit a proposal, please write an abstract of no more than 250 words, indicating the appropriate theme from above, and send it to by 10th January, 2011 at the latest.

Responses from the conference organisers will be sent by email by 24th January, 2011. Abstracts will be published in a proceedings report. Please note that the working language of the conference will be English and, unfortunately we are not able to provide interpreting facilities.


Registration via our website is open from 1st December, 2010, but please register early as places are quite limited. Conference fee for participants is € 115, and includes conference lunches, refreshments and the conference dinner. The conference venue is ‘it Aljemint’ conference centre of the Fryske Akademy in Leeuwarden. Information about a range of hotels and/or rooms to suit most budgets can be found at our website.

For further information or enquiries, please contact Adrie Kaspers

Conference Scientific Committee

George Alao, Maître de Conférences - Yoruba - & Director, Africa Department, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO), Paris, France
Sarah Cartwright, CILT (The National Centre for Languages), UK
Richard Clement, Professor, Director and Associate Dean, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa, Canada
Sabine Ehrhart, Professor of Ethnolinguistics, University of Luxembourg
René Jorna, Head of Social Science Department (inc Mercator) Fryske Akademy & Professor of Knowledge Management and Cognition, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Jacomine Nortier, Associate Professor, Institute of Dutch Language and Culture, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Alex Riemersma, Researcher, Mercator, Fryske Akademy & Lecturer Frisian and Multilingualism, NHL/Stenden University, The Netherlands
Itesh Sachdev, Director SOAS-UCL LWW-CETL & Professor of Language & Communication, SOAS, University of London, UK, (Conference Co-Chair)
Reinier Salverda, Director, Fryske Akademy, The Netherlands, & Professor, Dutch Language and Literature, University College London, UK.
Cor Van der Meer, Project Coordinator, Mercator, Fryske Akademy, The Netherlands (Conference Co-Chair)

Organiser: Languages of the Wider World CETL (SOAS & UCL), MERCATOR (Fryske Academy)

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