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Editors Multilingual Europe, Multilingual Europeans

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Mireille Rosello

Abstract

Gadjo Dilo was directed in 1997 by Tony Gatlif, a French filmmaker about whom it is often specified that he is of Roma origin. The main topic of this road movie is not multilingualism but as many of the works studied in the second part of this volume, Gadjo Dilo represents the encounter between subjects who must find ways to communicate in some European linguistic borderzone, because they do not speak the same language. We follow a Frenchman, Stéphane, who travels to a small village in Romania, to look for a singer he will never find. Instead, he will take the time to discover a new language, or rather what it means to learn the rudiments of a minority language in the absence of any educational or institutional frame.

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Jean-Marc Moura

Abstract

English has not always been the obvious European lingua franca that defenders of multilingualism fear will endanger European diversity. France also has a long and strong tradition of linguistic interventionism and the attempt to impose French as a lingua franca beyond the borders of the nation state has led to a clear differentiation between French and Francophone literatures. Francophone literatures are presented as multicultural (therefore not ‘typically French’) and are attributed a specific status within the literary canon. In this chapter, I propose to concentrate on the characteristics of ‘Francophone’ texts and to describe the main literary strategies developed by Francophone writers to represent the linguistic practices born in multiculturalist contexts and to emphasize the multicultural nature of their works.

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Dominic Thomas

Abstract

Fortress Europe, as the European Union has come to be known in official Euro-speak with reference to the multi-country juridical border control mechanisms deployed under its aegis, and fortress Europe as it is constructed and perceived in the minds of global migrants attempting to enter the geographic zone it now contains provides a compelling framework for socio-cultural and socio-political inquiry into the multidimensionality of linguistic practices associated with this space. This essay will explore several factors: the linguistic challenges faced by migrants entering and then assuming residency in the EU and the impact of the European Union Pact on Migration and Asylum and the Union for the Mediterranean project. I analyze the new grammars of migration constructed from various concepts: detention zones, detainees, refugee camps, forced repatriation, filtering systems, undocumented, illegals and expulsion. The objective is to establish a conjunction between language and the evidentiary mode it seeks to communicate.

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Vanya Ivanova

Abstract

Usually the issues connected with the official language politics in Tito’s Yugoslavia are a constituent part of a significant and multicomponent problem – the national question in a multi-linguistic and multicultural socialist federation. Constitutional articles in all Yugoslav constitutions (1946, 1963 and 1974) guaranteed the rights of every Yugoslav citizen to use freely his/her national language and the equality of the languages and characters of all officially recognized Yugoslav nations. The predominant part of the national minorities in FPRY/SFRY had officially acknowledged and sponsored textbooks and broadcasts in their own languages. The main contradictions in the field of linguistic matters (with long-lasting political and ‘bloody’ consequences) may be found in two main thematic areas. Firstly, the equal position of Slovenian and Macedonian (later Albanian and Hungarian) compared to Serbo-Croatian. And secondly the insurmountable contradictions in the Serbo-Croatian speaking district on the nature and possible ‘variants’ of the spoken language. In comparing the major components of the language policies with the political practices which are actually directed towards enhancing multilingualism in the EU, this paper suggests what lessons can be learned from the Yugoslav experience.

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Timofey Agarin and Michael Hornsby

Abstract

The European Union is home to national, regional and minority languages, only some of which have some recognition and the support of state language policies. To demonstrate this we proceed in three steps. First, we demonstrate that the current approach of European institutions and nation-states, providing support for languages is at odds with the commitment for equality of citizens, i.e. language communities and their members on the entire territory of the Union. Second, we demonstrate that most European languages with a stringently defined homeland territory are likely to survive, while those with no support from territorially defined language policies struggle to compete for speakers with the majority/official state languages. Thirdly, we discuss regional efforts to increase the currency of what is frequently seen as regional variety of the state language Samogitian, Latgalian and Võru in three new EU member-states undergoing processes of nation-cum-institution building. Finally, we review minority language activism of languages, ‘officially distinct’ from the state language, Kashubian and Silesian, contending that activism of these communities reflects the stark centripetal logic in state language policies. The salience of non-standard idioms, as we conclude, reflects both the European emphasis on linguistic diversity and nation-state linguistic cohesion – both trends resulting in ‘language sectarianism.’

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Guido Snel

Abstract

This chapter discusses a multilingual community of writers and intellectuals who gathered around the idea of a Central European culture in the 1980s, during the last decade of the Cold War. Czesław Miłosz, Danilo Kiš, Milan Kundera, György Konrád and others advocated the idea of a Central European culture. Their own work and their biographies, immersed in and marked by a triple historical trauma of Nazism, communism and endemic nationalism, were, as they claimed, both evidence of and a consequence of a specific Central European, historical imagination, marked by a ‘specific tone and sensibility’ (Miłosz). They convened on a number of occasions, commented on each others’ work and referred to each other, but they had no common language. This is all the more poignant as they did claim to be heirs of the actual cosmopolitan culture of pre-WWII Central Europe, which had German (and to some extend Yiddish) as a lingua franca. This chapter first explores how the self-proclaimed Central Europeans of the 1980s constructed their sense of community on an idea of multilingualism without having an actual lingua franca. This is followed by an analysis of how their invocation of a pre-WWII cosmopolitan culture of multilingualism relates to the actual linguistic situation a major multilingual writers, Franz Kafka.

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Yvo Volman

Abstract

The Lisbon Treaty, signed in December 2007, indicates that the EU shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced. What does the new Treaty article on linguistic diversity mean for the policies and practices in the EU? This chapter answer this question by examining three areas. Firstly, the policy and pragmatic aspects of dealing with 23 official languages in the European institutions. Secondly, the way in which language issues are taken into account in the development of the internal market. For instance, what is the effect of linguistic requirements on the free movement of persons and goods? Thirdly, European policies supporting multilingualism across the Union are discussed, e.g. the so-called ‘Barcelona objective’ according to which each European citizen should be able to communicate in his/her mother tongue plus two other languages.

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Balázs Vizi

Abstract

Linguistic rights are usually in the forefront of minority protection measures and international documents regard linguistic rights as particularly important. The most important international documents on linguistic rights: the ECRML, the relevant articles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the relevant OSCE documents, all reflect a minority-focused language rights approach.Meanwhile, the European Union is officially promoting the idea of multilingualism both in its policy towards its official languages and more modestly in some political documents recognising minority languages. This article offers an interpretation of the role of linguistic diversity in the European Union, whether the existing legal regime on the use of languages at international and EU levels are likely to promote a truly multilingual Europe or displaying more limited goals. Additionally, this paper also analyses in this wider context, the main documents adopted in EU bodies on the situation of minority languages and linguistic minorities within the Union.