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.
The Power of words and numbers
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...
Predictions regarding vitality, the linguistic system and language practices
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...
Laura Villa (Queens College CUNY) and Jose del Valle (The Graduate Center – CUNY)
This collaborative project aims at moving beyond common and acritical assumptions about capitalism and language that tend to take them for granted, without sufficiently interrogating their historical development, their heterogeneous manifestations in time and space, or their complicated interrelationship. We believe instead that a thorough exploration of the co-relation of language and capitalism is needed in order to grasp how, where, why, to what extent, with what consequences, and...
Cooperation with Università della Svizzera italiana
Marine Borel, Laura Hodel, Corinne Hunziker, Verena Tunger
This project culminates in a book in four languages that is designed for the general public. In the book, roughly 40 expressions in Rhaeto-Romanic (all idioms), Italian, German (including examples in Swiss German) and French are compared. The selected expressions have the same meaning in all languages yet employ different, sometimes amusing metaphors; humorous images from all linguistic regions are used to illustrate the expressions.
The project looks at learning and teaching German as a Foreign Language in Israel, where after 1945 the German language was looked down upon and where learning German still does not seem self-evident today. Proceeding from the historically complex relationship between Germany and Israel and situated at the interface between sociolinguistics and foreign language didactics, the study addresses the so far underexplored question of who is nowadays learning German why, where and how in Israel....
The standing of German in the Canton and City of Fribourg has been a topic of public debate for decades. Currently, French and German are official languages of the canton, and their use is anchored in the constitution; moreover, it is possible for communes “with a significant traditional linguistic minority” to use both French and German as official languages (art. 6 para. 3). Nevertheless, an implementation act specifying the criteria and legal procedures has not yet been drafted....
The aim of this research project is to highlight the emergence and development of the Esperantist discourse and movement in Switzerland, in connection with its characteristic sociopolitical and discursive conditions: neutrality and multilingualism. In addition, the project examines how the sociopolitical and discursive conditions specific to Switzerland contribute to the positioning of Swiss Esperantists within the global Esperanto movement.
Processes used to solve intercomprehension tasks and appropriate learner profiles
The goal of the project "Multilingual sequences in history lessons: processes to solve intercomprehension tasks and appropriate learner profiles" was twofold: First, the project adjusted worksheets designed in the context of materials development for improving intercomprehension at the secondary II level (reading texts in the source language in history lessons) for use in secondary school I. Second, the project aimed to shed light on key processes in text comprehension when reading an...
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