“Language Dynamics and Management of Diversity"

DYLAN 5th Consortium Meeting - Barcelona
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The meeting was hosted by the DYLAN teams of Barcelona and Bolzano/Bozen and mainly focussed on the discussion and further development of the DYLAN Working papers 3 to be completed in early Summer 2009 as well as on transversal interactions between the work packages.

A public session took place on Monday afternoon, 26 January 2009. An EC representative, invited experts and DYLAN representatives discussed "Multilingual communication in 
Europe - current challenges and research responses".
Meeting venue was the Casa Convalescencia, which is part of the famous Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, one of the great works of Catalan Modernism.

The complex was designed in the late 19th century to alleviate the shortage of hospital space in Barcelona. The hospital of Santa Creu, dating from 1401 and situated in the old city centre (Casc Antic) had become obsolete due the city’s growth and breakthroughs in medicine. Casa Convalescència is currently the headquarters of the Foundation of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (FUAB).
26-27 January 2009
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Maria Jesús Ferrés, from the Servei de Llengües Modernes at the University of Girona, argues that in the context of promotion of English as a single lingua franca, as a substitute for other hybrid forms of communication, it is gratifying to hear arguments in favour of the promotion of linguistic diversity, as both convenient and as an opportunity. She states that multilingualism is not just the addition of monolingualisms, and that explicit language policies that recognise and promote this reality are needed, not just simple declarations of intent. Like Enric Serra i Casals, she highlights the argument by one of the invited experts, Albert Branchadell from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, there exists a mismatch between official discourses and practices.

She also claims that although a very clear distinction was presented by one of the invited experts, Carme Muñoz from the Universitat de Barcelona, between CLIL and English-medium courses, further debate is needed as to whether these actually contribute to the promotion of multilingualism and whether the same results are obtainable in higher education as in primary and secondary education. In her opinion, the introduction of English into university teaching in the context of Catalonia has taken place without the needed reflexion about the concrete aims and means.

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The meeting has been a good time for all involved. 

Moreover, the public session provoked prompt reactions, reported below. For each of the three reactions, you will find an abstract in English, followed by a link to the whole article in Catalan. 
Enric Serra i Casals from the UAB’s Servei de Llengües comments that the sensation he is left with after the session is that practices are far more complex than is recognised in institutional and political discourse defending multilingualism as patrimony. According to him, university language services need to work to remove the emptiness, lack of practicality and impossibility from the official discourses and promote all forms of plurilingualism. These include, in the case of Catalonia, plurilingualisms that go beyond the Catalan, Spanish and English triad promoted by official discourses.

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Marta Estella from the UAB’s Servei de Llengües makes similar claims about the mismatch between policies and practices. She also argues that English-medium university teaching does not always promote an integrated treatment of both language and subject knowledge (CLIL).

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