The goal of this research project is to examine language ideological debates throughout the period 1970-1990 in two international organisations, the Council of Europe and the European Union, from a critical sociolinguistic perspective. Their discourses on multilingualism and their recommendations for language teaching have shaped language policy in education in many European contexts since.

Language debates in the making of Europe

Discursive genealogy, language ideologies and (post) national constructions at the Council of Europe
Project management
This thesis traces a discursive genealogy of the language debates at the Council of Europe. Through a sociolinguistic and discursive approach to international institutions, different institutional texts produced between 1949 and 2008 are examined in their socio-historically situated conditions of production.

Documenting Francophonie without borders

The Power of words and numbers
Project management
The 19th century saw a proliferation of scientific documentary works contributing to the production of knowledge about languages and their speakers around the world. These included linguistic corpora, ethnographic reports, maps and language statistics comprising a set of research data which was subsequently used by Western governments to define geopolitical borders, to legitimize the construction of nations and to determine those language practices that would come to be recognised as...

Project management

Scientific partner: Stefano Losa, Daniela Kappler, SUPSI-DFA

This research project performs a retrospective analysis of the challenges posed by Swiss multilingualism during the Covid-19 pandemic. Continuous communication with the population is necessary in times of crisis – indeed, communication is an essential aspect of crisis management, be it to provide information about the current situation, health issues and distancing rules, or to explain work-related rights and obligations, access to emergency financial aid, and even educational matters....

The project offers a space for methodological reflections about critical ethnographic sociolinguistic research based on researchers’ experiences. On a dedicated website, the team makes available a collection of personal tales about specific problems that raise questions for the researchers, which are seen as opportunities to make sense of, and lead toward a better comprehension of, the phenomena, institutions and actors that are studied.  

Evolution of patois in French-speaking Switzerland

Predictions regarding vitality, the linguistic system and language practices
Project management
Research cooperation with the Glossaire des patois de la Suisse romande - GPSR

Benefits of multilingualism for Switzerland

Individuals and society at large (APSIS)
Project management

Scientific partnership, regular consultation with: Federal Statistical Office (FSO); Institute for multilingualism (IOM)

Linguistic and cultural diversity is of particular importance to Switzerland and its residents, all the more because it is tightly bound with the long-term political, social and cultural history of the country. It is often referred to as an “asset” or even a “treasure”, with some going so far as to claim that it is essential to the very existence of the country.

As the question of the teaching-learning of French in vocational schools in Switzerland is under debate once again, it is essential to study and understand the place and role of French as a school discipline, a working tool and a subject of discourse in the context of vocational training. A historical perspective will be used for this purpose, since examining current issues from a historical perspective allows for a better understanding of the origins of phenomena and the factors that...

Project management
After the positive outcome of the first Cantonal Integration Programme (CIP), the Confederation commissioned the cantons to implement the second CIP (running from 2018 to 2021). Considering that not all migrants have the same needs and requirements with regard to second language acquisition, Fribourg's offer for language courses is to be assessed as part of the second CIP. The assessment is carried out by the Institute of multilingualism, on behalf the Migrant Integration Office and...

Regional and minority languages in diaspora communities

Possible measures for fostering Rhaeto-Romanic (in addition to language instruction)
Project management
On behalf of the Lia Rumantscha (umbrella organisation of all Rhaeto-Romanic associations), the Institute reviewed and assessed sociolinguistic literature to identify potential measures to foster Rhaeto-Romanic or other (autochthonous) minority languages in diaspora communities.