European Multilingualism: Current Perspectives and Challenges

Author: Rosita Rindler Schjerve, Eva Vetter

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Multilingual Matters
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This book provides a broad sociolinguistic perspective on major questions of political and cultural Europeanization. It is concerned with European multilingualism as it actually results from the intersecting endeavour of policy making and scientific research. This volume argues that the EU must overcome the major discrepancies of its linguistic diversity politics by developing into a multiple inclusive society beyond the nation-state in order to seriously unfold European multilingualism as a political goal. Expanding on the theoretical and methodological approaches developed within the EU project LINEE (Languages in a Network of European Excellence), this book further focuses on the LINEE key variables of European multilingualism i.e. 'culture', 'discourse', 'identity', 'ideology', 'knowledge', 'LPP', 'multi-competence', and 'power & conflict'. Against this background, this study argues for reconceptualising European multilingualism on the basis of an integrative and multi-focal approach.

This book is much more than a synthesis of the research findings of a network of scholars. In unprecedented clarity and detail, it lays bare the ideas, debates and contradictions underpinning multilingualism as a strategic aim of the European project and as a scientific enterprise. It offers a meticulously argued critique of language policy regimes in Europe and advocates an ambitious and rigorously conceptualized framework for integrating a wide range of disciplinary perspectives in the advancement of a comprehensive research agenda. European Multilingualism is therefore both a brilliant analysis of current challenges and a challenge to future research.

EU policy somehow has to reconcile multilingual diversity with the need for unity but this has been hindered by the diverse ways in which the concept of multilingualism itself is understood. This book provides a much needed coherent view of European multilingualism based on a critical appraisal of this conceptual diversity.

This volume is a well-written introduction to the research program of the LINEE consortium..."European Multilingualism" provides an excellent insight into EM's complex content and its limits.

Language Problems and Language Planning 37:1 (2013), 71-74, 2013

The book will be of interest to scholars and students of multilingualism, offering them a wide range of analytical tools for their subject of study, as well as to policy makers, who should be aware of results of scientific research pointing to problem areas and discrepancies related to the concept of European multilingualism and its practical implementation. The volume is a coherent whole bringing together political and theoretical aspects of European multilingualism, with a detailed account of the methodological and theoretical dimension of research characterized by a flexible and open-ended qualitative approach. All in all, the book is an invaluable contribution to research on European multilingualism and practice, as it discusses current and develops new comprehensive interdisciplinary conceptualizations, understandings, and perspectives, bridging the gap between theory and practice in a highly constructive way.

LINGUIST List, 24.980, 2013

Rosita Rindler Schjerve is a full professor of Romance Linguistics at the Department of Romance Studies of Vienna University. Her research focus is on multilingualism, code-switching, language shift, language policies and Europeanisation. She was a partner in various EU-funded projects and author and editor of numerous books and contributions to international journals and handbooks.

Eva Vetter is a professor at the Center for Research into Language Teaching and Learning at the University of Vienna. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and is the author of various publications focusing on specific aspects of multilingualism, e.g. minority languages in France, language awareness of teachers, and teaching and learning languages in multilingual contexts. Her research interests also include discourse analysis and language policy.


1. European Multilingualism – Political Scope

1.1. Multilingualism and the Diversity Debate

1.2. European Multilingualism – Towards a Cross-Cutting Policy Framework

2. European Multilingualism as a Scientific Field of Research

2.1. Multilingualism – A Multi-Disciplinary Field of Research

3. The LINEE Project

3.1. Theoretical Dimension

3.2. LINEE Keyconcepts

3.3. Methodological Issues

3.4. Lines of Tension Emerging from LINEE

4. European Multilingualism Beyond LINEE

4.1. Re-Conceptualizing European Multilingualism

4.2. Towards an Integrative View of European Multilingualism

5. Conclusion

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate
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