Brussels - 31.05.2022

Sorbian Institute joined European Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity

Logo © NPLD
Logo © NPLD

The Sorbian Institute has been accepted as a new member of the European Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) in its General Assembly in Brussels on May 18-19. On the occasion of this meeting a round table on “European Language Models in Education” was held.

A study commissioned by the NPLD was presented during the General Assembly. It examined various modalities of bilingual education in Brittany, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Ireland and Wales, as well as the performance of students in a European comparison. Among other things, the study revealed that, when implemented well, students in immersion or bilingual schools have a better command of the majority language at the end of their schooling than students with monolingual instruction in French, Spanish and English.

The mandate and activities of the Sorbian Institute were introduced to the other member organizations of the Network by political scientist Jean-Rémi Carbonneau and political economist Felix Rietschel, sent to Brussels for the occasion, who also provided information about the Sorbian minority.

“The network offers us another platform for dialogue between science and society at the European level, but also direct access to developments and experiences in other countries in the field of language planning and maintenance”, said Hauke Bartels, director of the Sorbian Institute. “We are happy to actively contribute to the network with our expertise in the field of language promotion and revitalization. The topic of the round table is of great interest, especially in view of the current language revitalization projects in Lower Lusatia.”

The European Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity is active in the field of language policy and planning throughout Europe. State and regional governments, research institutions and associations work as full or associate members of the NPLD to preserve Europe’s linguistic diversity and further strengthen the rights of minority and regional languages. By the time of the General Assembly, during which the Sorbian Institute was admitted as a new member, the network had 15 full members (including the Catalan, Basque and Welsh regional governments) and 25 associate members (including the Institute of Occitan Studies, the Mercator Research Centre and the Stockholm University).

Through the integration into this European structure – with the participation of minority groups from all over Europe – the Sorbian Institute wants to contribute to a further sensitization on the topic of autochthonous minorities and minority languages. In addition to the international exchange of experience, the integration into a pan-European institution should lead to a more visible representation of Sorbian language and cultural interests at the European level.