Multilingual Cities

For the first time in history the majority of the world’s population lives in large metropolitan areas, as a result of migratory processes that lead to the creation of multilingual cities in which sustainability is closely tied to social integration and cohesion.

Languages are not spoken in socio-cultural vacuums. The influence of inter-cultural boundaries and traditions on language maintenance is one of the recurring themes in sociolinguistics. This raises the following questions: Are language the principal markers of intergroup difference in a culturally homogenized world? Does cultural homogenization really occur? Are we witnessing the creation of polyhedral identities? Do cultural identities disappear? Demographics are the basis for the maintenance of any language community, but at the same time, increasing mobility can pose serious threats to medium-sized language communities. Is it reasonable to talk about major qualitative changes in term of population and linguistic mobility? Are these phenomena comparable to the colonization of past centuries? Are there large groups who do not integrate into the host language community?



30 September and 7 October 2010

Cities and multilingual environments: a general perspectiveGuus Extra, Tilburg University

Brussels (Belgium) – Philippe Hambye, Catholic University of Leuven

Helsinki (Finland) – Pirkko Nuolijärvi, Research Institute for the Languages of Finland

Tallinn (Estonia) – Anastassia Zabrodskaja, University of Tartu

Copenhagen (Denmark) – Marie Maegaard, University of Copenhagen