Languages in crisis? Conference of the Greek-French Project Econolang Volos, 18-19 December 2014


Languages in crisis?

Conference of the Greek-French Project Econolang

Volos, 18-19 December 2014

The conference is organized by the research teams of the project “ECONOLANG: the impact of economic crisis on language attitudes and learning motivation”, which is funded by Campus France and the Greek General Secretariat for Research and Technology.

ECONOLANG’s subject is the investigation of multilingualism in the context of economic crisis. The main focus is on the attitudes and motivation of (actually or potentially) multilingual youth towards a number of languages of different status and power. The research field involves secondary (upper secondary schools “lyceums”) and higher education (universities) in most regions of Greece, as well as higher education in France, and especially the University of Strasbourg, where a wide variety of languages are taught. The main aim of the project is to describe the new sociolinguistic reality as it is formed nowadays, i.e. the impact of crisis on young people’s choices and preferences concerning languages, as well as to formulate proposals and ideas having as a target group the stakeholders of language education policy, in order to relegate the difficulties on the way to multilingualism.

In the conference in Volos, focusing mainly on multilingualism, we intend to approach the following subjects:

  • Attitudes, towards multilingualism and towards specific languages and cultures, as well as the impact of these attitudes on language learning,
  • Factors which define the choice to learn one or more languages and the potential influence of economic crisis on young people’s choices,
  • Management of speakers’ personal language repertoire in the context of language acquisition and learning, as well asthe construction of multilingual identities
  • Power relations between widely-used and lesser used languages, and the dynamics of languages in the new socioeconomic environment, which may impinge on the language ecology of Europe (cf. Haugen, 1972, Snuttnabb-Kangas & Phillipson, 2008).
  • Language policies of the countries involved in the project (Greece, France) on multiple levels, and through the perspective of European language policies.
  • Educational policies concerning languages, their implementation in secondary and higher education, especially in the research field of the project, and their acceptance by the target-group.
  • Proposals in the context of language teaching which can be taken into account by stakeholders
  • Issues of research methodology, and specifically of qualitative research regarding attitudes and motives of young people who learn languages as well speakers who are already multilingual.

The conference “Languages in Crisis?”  will take place at the University of Thessaly (Papastratos Building, Saratsi amphitheater ) in Volos, Greece, on Thursday the 18th and Friday the 19th of December 2014.