Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139


The focus of this paper is on immigrant minority languages in urban Western Europe. Both multidisciplinary and cross-national perspectives will be offered on two major domains in which language transmission occurs, i.e., the domestic domain and the public domain. Prototypical of these two domains are the home and the school, respectively. At home, language transmission occurs between parents and children; at school this occurs between teachers and pupils. Viewed from the perspectives of majority language speakers minority language speakers, language transmission becomes a very different issue. In the case of majority language speakers, language transmission at home and at school is commonly taken for granted: at home, parents speak this language usually with their children; at school this language is usually the only or major subject and medium of instruction. In the case of minority language speakers, there is usually a mismatch between the language of the home and the language of the school. Whether parents in such a context continue to transmit their language to their children is strongly dependent on the degree to which these parents conceive of this language as a core value of cultural identity.

After a short introduction, we offer perspectives on the semantics of our field of study and some central European notions in this field. Next we discuss major agencies and documents on at the global and European level. We also discuss the utilisation and effects of different criteria for the definition and identification of (school) population groups in a multicultural society. Next we offer perspectives on the distribution and vitality of immigrant minority languages across Europe. In this context the rationale and major outcomes of the , realised in six major multicultural cities in different European Union nation-states, are presented. Finally we offer comparative perspectives on policies and practices in the domain of immigrant minority languages in the six European Union countries under discussion. We conclude with an overview on how multilingualism can be promoted for all children in an increasingly multicultural Europe.

. (George W. Bush, presidential election campaign 2004)


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