“L’action se passe en Pologne, c’est-à-dire nulle part”

15-17 September 2011, Seventh International Conference on Third language acquisition and multilingualism, University of Warsaw, Poland.
With the always developing researches into multilingualism, the once unknown Poland hosted 67 presentations and thousands participants from all over the world discussed new dimensions of multilingualism and their diverse perspectives on future researches in multilingual contexts.
Interesting discussions on multilingual contexts over the world open the conference and Hanna Komorowska presented the history of multilingualism and multiculturality in Poland from the Jagiellonian Period and the partitioning of the country to its disappearing from the map for the 20c. motivations and demotivations toward language learning. In the history of Poland, religion and linguistic diversity were intimately linked together; language and identity, ethnicity and nations were considered important issues and civic categorisation was the basis for linguistic categorisation. Nowadays, multilingualism is promoted and there is a possibility for language choice with English as the most chosen language in linguistic constellations. Although Spanish is another flourishing language, English tends to be the lingua franca in second and foreign language education in Poland. The interesting presentation of the multilingual context in Poland was followed by many questions from the participants who wanted to know about the role of religion in linguistic categorisation today and the motives of families in their different choices of linguistic constellations. Yet, because of the strict respect of timing, not all questions could be answered.

1 comment to “L’action se passe en Pologne, c’est-à-dire nulle part”

  • We should not overestimate the position of English.

    I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.

    The promulgation of English as the world’s “lingua franca” is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!

    Impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment.

    Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is essential.

    As a native English speaker, my vote is for Esperanto 🙂

    Your readers may be interested in seeing http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU Professor Piron was a former translator with the United Nations

    The new online course http://www.lernu.net has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per day. That can’t be bad 🙂