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Language revitalization in a Russian and European context: Exploring solutions for minority language maintenance

Conference to be held on December 16–18 at the University of Helsinki, Finland

The conference focuses on the research of the ongoing processes of language extinction and revitalization. The special emphasis of the conference is on minority language communities in the Russian Federation and European Union in a comparative perspective. These multilingual regions, which have emerged through very different historical phases, have today committed themselves to protect minorities through the Council of Europe’s treaties, such as the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities. Both Russia and the EU also act on the international level as partners with interests in the development perspectives of their linguistic minorities. However, many minority languages in these regions remain severely threatened and the policies on the national and local levels are not preventing this tendency.

While language use in most minority communities in both the EU and the Russian Federation is in decline, both from the point of view of the number of speakers and the development perspectives of their traditional communities, some language communities, such as Sámi, Basque, and Welsh-speakers, have effectively succeeded in revitalizing their languages. From the point of view of preserving the world’s linguistic heritage, it is of great importance to learn from such achievements, as well as from the much more numerous failures in language revitalization.

The organizers of the conference encourage an interdisciplinary approach to minority language maintenance, bringing together researchers from different fields of minority language studies, including contact linguistics, sociolinguistics, language planning, anthropology and language legislation. In addition to representatives of linguistic science, social scientists, jurists and activists are invited to take part. We especially welcome papers related to the status and development of understudied minority languages and communities of Russia.

See Programme

Please note: The Workshop on Citizen science and language revitalization (Wednesday 18 Dec) has been moved from the Little Parliament to the Metsätalo building (room 1) at the University.