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European Migration, Language Policy and Small States

Principal Investigator: Dr James Hawkey, University of Bristol


This project examines what happens when migrants arrive in small countries such as Andorra and Luxembourg. The two situations are clearly comparable: both are small trilingual states characterised by the presence of small languages (Catalan and Luxembourgish) alongside demographically important languages (French, German and Spanish). The two countries however adopt different policies regarding the use of their various languages, and have different statuses vis-à-vis the EU. To what extent do such differences affect migrant linguistic experiences for those who come to small states? Using quantitative and qualitative methods, we address how Portuguese migrants engage with small languages like Luxembourgish and Catalan. The project will result in academic articles, an online data source allowing for future study, a conference on language and migration, and an event where practitioners and community members can explore issues facing those moving to small states. Language policy decisions in Europe (including the UK) and beyond can thus be guided by the findings of this project.

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