Re-constructing multilingual orientations in Central/Eastern Europe

Gabrielle Hogan-Brun

University of Bristol, UK

WS153: Constructing Multilingual Europe? Micro and Macro Perspectives

This contribution explores multilingual policies and practices in a range of Central/Eastern European settings, both at the macro and micro levels. In this region different sets of multilingualism have developed over time as a result of changing political borders, language regimes and ideologies. Following independence, re-evolving increasingly westward-bound multilingualisms were accelerated through EU accession and are symbolic of changing orientations that are socially, politically and economically motivated.

However,Western approaches to language and education that have greatly impacted on policy-making in the new member states during the EU enlargement process in 2004 entailed a number of (ongoing) challenges due to the differing socio-political contexts found there. Hence there is increasing concern about evolving language strategy developments both at the macro and micro levels of society, as well as growing understanding of the political importance of language education and language choice. Whilst multilingualism figures as a central language (education) objective in these regions,

as agreed upon in many countries Europe-wide, its implementation can be a politically sensitive issue for formerly dominant minority groups in this dynamic multilingual space.

Offering a critical perspective on differing (macro) policies and (micro) practices of multilingualism in Central/Eastern Europe as compared to those found in the West, we shall call for context-sensitivity in the formulation and implementation of language diversity management practices to allow for the consolidation of both micro and macro connections at the regional, national and global levels.

Friday, April 4, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 18