Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Conference Information

Full Title: Eurolinguistics and the Challenge of Language Barriers in the Public Service

Short Title: ELB2012
Location: Rende, Cosenza, Italy
Start Date: 08-Nov-2012 - 09-Nov-2012
Contact: Anna Franca Plastina
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://plastinaannafranca.wix.com/elb2012
Meeting Description: The objective of this international symposium is to provide an arena for researchers and scholars in the field of Eurolinguistics concerned with issues related to language barriers which impede quality public services in Europe. Public services tend to be those considered essential to modern life in a wealth of contexts including institutional public services, such as education, healthcare, justice, social services, police services, municipality services, and also social contexts in which the public is negotiated. It follows that ‘interaction - as a communicative system - is central not only to forms of everyday social encounters but also to professional-client relationships in institutional settings (Sarangi, 2010: 167). The challenge faced by Eurolinguistics is to support world citizens in attaining levels of ‘global and cross-cultural communicative competence characterized by tolerance and empathy’ (Grzega, 2008: 135) to avoid miscommunication, intercultural conflicts and social exclusion. This also implies a process that expands from monolingualism to bilingualism and to plurilingual competence in which different ‘languages interrelate and interact’ (Castorina, 2008).

Overcoming language barriers in these contexts means allowing people from whatever geographical or social background to freely access public services without privilege or prejudice. These various communicative spaces call for a bottom-up perspective in exploring language and its role in breaking down barriers in communication, intercultural encounters and in social cohesion. We suggest a broad interdisciplinary perspective to the concept of the public service, taking on both professional and broader social issues of public practices. This perspective opens to multiple interactive public spaces, where language barriers may create a number of gaps in institutional, social, educational, intercultural and global services in daily communicative practices.
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics; Translation
Subject Language: None
LL Issue: 23.3824

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