Linguistic diversity in political unity?
Multilingualism in Europe - source of contention or of cohesion
Conference on november 26th and 27th 2008 at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin
- Matthias Hüning and Ulrike Vogl (German and Dutch Languages and Literature, FU Berlin)
- Uli Reich (Romance Philology, FU Berlin)
- Sabine Riedel (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin)
The European Union attaches great importance to linguistic diversity. But simultaneously, this diversity is often associated with disintegration and conflicts. Thus, how should an active language policy look like in the EU and its member states? What can language policy actually change at all? In how far do people politically instrumentalize the given language problem to promote regional nationalisms? Facing globalisation, mass migration and urban agglomerations, what are our challenges for the future?
The conference shed more light on these issues with regard to historical as well as sociolinguistic and political aspects. The first day of our conference focussed on the history of linguistic diversity in Europe; on the second day, the emphasis was put on current challenges for politics, e.g. integration of migrants and promotion of multilingual education activities, and on perspectives for a new language policy.
We were glad to welcome Prof. Dr. Alfred Grosser, one of the pioneers concerning French-German reconciliation, and the former President of the German Bundestag, Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth, currently President of the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband.