Multilingualism is a crucial if often unrecognized marker of new European identities.
In this collection of essays, we observe how a plurilinguist and pluricultural political entity practices and theorizes multilingualism. We ask which types of multilingualism are defined, encouraged or discouraged at the level of official policies, but also at the level of communities. We look at speakers of hegemonic or minority languages, at travellers and long-term migrants or their children, and analyse how their conversations are represented in official documents, visual art, cinema, literature and popular culture.
The volume is divided into two parts that focus respectively on “Multilingual Europe” and “Multilingual Europeans.” The first series of chapters explore the extent to which multilingualism is treated as both a challenge and an asset by the European Union, examine which factors contribute to the proliferation of languages: globalisation, the enlargement of the European Union and EU language policies. The second part of the volume concentrates on the ways in which cultural productions represent the linguistic practices of Europeans in a way that emphasizes the impossibility to separate language from culture, nationality, but also class, ethnicity or gender. The chapters suggest that each form of plurilingualism needs to be carefully analysed rather than celebrated or condemned.