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Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:00

Urban multilingualism in the European Union: Bridging the Gap between Language Policies and Language Practices

4th April 2014 Brussels, Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science 
and the Arts – Marble room 

The Invited Symposium on “Urban multilingualism in the European Union: bridging the gap between language policies and language practices” is intended to connect scholars from different disciplines to discuss the relation (or the lack thereof) between language policies and actual language practices across the European Union in different sectors of the public sphere (e.g. education, health, administration). Against a background of increasing migration-related forms of multilingualism in European urban contexts, language policy currently represents a highly topical issue of great societal value. The topics of discussion of the Invited Symposium span numerous research fields, including linguistics, sociolinguistics, education, developmental linguistics, language policy and planning, cognitive linguistics, language acquisition and sociology. 

The discussion will specifically focus on the interface between language policy, language planning and actual practices in the current panorama of linguistic ‘superdiversity’ of the European Union. In particular, the Invited Symposium will focus on the constraints that current policy instruments impose upon languages practices at national level (e.g. classroom practices), and on the possible changes that might be brought about in order to valorize multilingualism and promote immigrants’ social inclusion and linguistic diversity. Given the lack of an over-arching language policy in the European Union, the Invited Symposium on “Urban Multilingualism in the European Union” will also serve as an arena to: 

- promote European cooperation in developing language policies. Participants to the Invited Symposium will discuss, compare and exchange best practices in the field of multilingual policies at local, national and transnational level. The existence of heterogeneous practices within the EU will be investigated contrastively, with a view to suggesting common reference models to be followed in different cultural/institutional/educational contexts; 

- promote new and practice-led methods of language teaching in multilingual schools, with specific reference to classroom practices, tools and linguistic repertoires; - develop international collaborations by means of partnerships and the organization of future workshops, all leading to the enhancement of competence and expertise; 

- raise awareness of European values and guiding principles, linguistic diversity being a key property of Europe’s identity and one of the founding principles of European integration. 


The Symposium will take place at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (Marble room), Academy Palace, Rue Ducale 1/ Hertogstraat 1 - 1000 Bruxelles. 

Directions:, Royal Academy website: 



There is no registration fee, but advanced registration for the Symposium is absolutely required. To register, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 4th 2014. 


A sandwich lunch will be offered to all participants. The reception will be held in the Trône Room of the Royal Academy. The Trône Room is located next to the Marble room, where the Symposium will be held. 

Scientific Committee 

Giuditta Caliendo (University of Naples Federico II), Rudi Janssens (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Jürgen Jaspers (ULB), Stef Slembrouck (Ghent University), Piet Van Avermaet (Ghent University) 

For any further information please contact: Giuditta Caliendo (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Provisional programme:

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