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Concepts and Consequences of Multilingualism in Europe

CAS 16/01/2009

International Workshop, Budapest College of Communication and Business (BCCB), 2009, September 25-26

Organizers: Jolán Róka (Budapest College of Communication and Business) and László Marácz (University of Amsterdam)

The European Union counts 27 member-states and it plays an important role in the daily life of its 480 million citizens. Meanwhile the Union acknowledges 24 ‘national’ languages as official working languages. This number will probably continue to grow as the Union will be expanding in the coming years.

What concepts are available for language policy within the Union? What concepts will be realistic to challenge uncontrollable multilingualism? Are there any lessons to be learned from multilingual empires and states in European history? The consequence of multilingual Europe is a ‘Babylonian’ Europe which raises a number of questions that should be addressed by scholars from several disciplines. The research of multilingualism in Europe requires all sorts of expertise and the application of research methods from different disciplines. Hence, the research will only offer deeper insights into the concepts and consequences of multilingual and Babylonian Europe if and only if legal experts, linguists, literati, historians, cultural analysts, (automatic) translation experts, social and political scientists will tackle the questions raised by the state of affairs.

The workshop would like to address the following questions. This list is not exhaustive. Any abstract related to the title of the workshop is welcomed by the organizers:

- Will it be possible to continue the project of European integration with 24 national languages already being recognized?

- What are the lessons to be learned from multilingual European empires in the past, like the Habsburg Empire or ex-Yugoslavia where clear lingua franca were functioning?

- What is the legal status of language and languages in Europe?

- What is the relation between globalisation, lingua franca and language policy in the Union?

- What are the perspectives of regional, minority and endangered languages in Europe?

- What are the consequences of Babylonian Europe for the communication between European citizens; for the communication between European citizens with the European institutions; and for the communication within European institutions.

- What are the consequences of multilingualism concerning all sorts of domains of society involving language, such as language education and the judiciary.

- It is generally accepted that language is an important marker of identity. But what is the national, regional or ethnic identity of people being multilingual?

- What are the consequences of mobility and migration in the Union for multilingualism?

- Media, performing arts and literature normally function in the context of a national language. By the absence of a common European language how are European media, performing arts and literature be represented.

Abstracts of maximum 300 words and a title should be handed in by email ([email protected] and [email protected]) until the 15th of February 2009. On the basis of this, a selection of papers to be read in Budapest will then be made. After accepting, the authors will be instructed to have a written version ready of their paper before the workshop. The papers will be published in a separate English-language volume of the scientific journal Kommunikáció, Média, Gazdaság (KMG, Communication, Media and Economy).

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