MIS symposium 2015 – Multilingualism: Approaches and Research Perspectives

PosterFollowing the Key Area workshop in November 2014, the MIS symposium ‘Multilingualism – Approaches and Research Perspectives. Society – Education – Literature’ took place on 24 and 25 March 2015. The invited speakers from Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland and Luxembourg discussed the approaches and findings of their research work in relation to social, political, cultural and educational aspects.



Panel 1: Multilingualism and Society

Wim Vandenbussche, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Wim Vandenbussche, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Julia de Bres (University of Luxembourg) opened the first panel and used the general question ‘What is sociolinguistics?’ to present the linguistic situation in Luxembourg, which has transformed from trilingualism into a far more complex system over recent decades. Helen Kelly-Holmes (University of Limerick) investigated the perception of various languages for their marketing effect. According to Kelly-Holmes, English remains a lingua franca but has lost its power of persuasion due to its role as a ‘language of everyone and no-one’. Wim Vandenbussche (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) explored the politically charged and historic linguistic conflict in Belgium, which has long been more than a merely linguistic issue as language is increasingly associated with cultural and social functions.



Panel 2: Multilingualism and Education

Adelheid Hu (University of Luxembourg) opened the second panel and discussed the extent to which multilingualism was embedded within the environment of interaction between identity development (education), collective identity development (politics) and global competitiveness (economy). Sílvia Melo-Pfeifer (University of Hamburg) added that teaching in German schools simulates a monolingual multilingualism and highlighted the dynamic structure of linguistic identity. Sofia Stratilaki-Klein (University of Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3) tied in with this by presenting three models for the construction of student identity, arising from her own research.

Round table discussion: Multilingualism from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

L. Heuschling, A. Hu, C. Weth, B. Huemer, M. Reichert and N. Roelens (f. l. t. r.)

Participants in the round table discussion had the opportunity to exchange ideas with researchers from the University of Luxembourg who are addressing questions of multilingualism and its analysis. The discussion included Luc Heuschling (Centre for European Law), Birgit Huemer (Language Centre), Monique Reicher (Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing), Nathalie Roelens (Institute for Romance, Media and Art Studies) and Constanze Weth (Institute for Research on Multilingualism).



Panel 3: Multilingualism and Literature

The introduction to the third panel was provided by Till Dembeck (University of Luxembourg), who discussed the significance of interference between multilingualism and literature. He developed the theory that even monolingual texts are pervaded by various linguistic systems. Reine Meylaerts (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) tied in to this with a conceptual demonstration of the extent to which authors function as cultural mediators. Dirk Weissmann (University Paris Est Créteil) followed on from Dembeck by promoting the theory that multilingual literature exists not only at linguistic borders but also in monolingual texts. Building on this, he began a critical discussion of established periodisations and classifications in literary studies.

A joint event organised by the Key Area ‘MIS – Multilingualism and Intercultural Studies’ and the research priority ‘Education: Focusing on Multilingualism and Diversity’.

Planning and organisation: Julia de Bres, Jeanne E. Glesener, Dieter Heimböckel, Adelheid Hu, Mélanie Wagner, Constanze Weth, Christian Wille.