Invitation to public seminar about “Minority Languages” at Macquarie University
What: Minority languages: what are we talking about? And why are we talking about it now?
When: Wednesday, November 22, 12:00-2:00pm
Where: Macquarie University Y3A 211 Tute Rm (10HA)
Who: Professor Josu Amezaga, University of the Basque Country
Abstract: Minority (or minoritized) languages can be defined as languages historically excluded from the nation-state. Following the French Revolution, which imposed the need of a common and unique language on the French state, many countries applied the “one-language-one-nation” pattern and, in the process, minoritized numerous languages. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many countries almost seemed to have reached this monolingual ideal. However, in recent decades major changes in mediated communications together with growing migration flows have called this state of affairs into question as minority languages – both “old” and “new” – reassert themselves. At the same time, the reemergence of linguistic diversity has provoked state reactions in the form of new re-nationalization policies focused around language.
In my presentation I will first explain what minoritization of languages means. Then I will show how changes in communication and migration flows have affected the linguistic landscape of Western societies. The focus will be on commonalities and points of difference between regional and immigrant minority languages. Finally, I will discuss why minority languages should be addressed not only as a matter of cultural heritage but also a need for the future. This will lead me to close with some questions about the monolingual paradigm.
Bio blurb: Josu Amezaga is Professor in the Department of Audio-Visual Communication and Advertising at the University of the Basque Country, Spain. After completing his Ph.D. in Sociology about Basque culture, he started researching Basque language and media, from where he moved to a more comprehensive view of minority languages in media and as identity tools. This interest has led him to immigrant languages, as yet another type of minority languages. Currently, he is a visiting professor at Charles Sturt University.