- Mercator Network
The European Mercator Network connects multilingual communities across Europe, promoting knowledge sharing and facilitating structured exchange of best practice and cutting edge initiatives through its programme of activities. Since its foundation in 1987 many activities and projects have been carried out, most of them funded by the European Commission.
Focus lies on multilingual regions dealing with regional or minority languages, but also immigrant languages and smaller state languages, with emphasis on language needs arising from migration and globalisation. The specific topics of the network are: the use of media and information technology, legal provisions with respect to minority language learning, and developments in language teaching and learning.
The Mercator Network aims to contribute to improving language vitality by analysing language visibility as well as cultural, economic and social opportunities for language use. The envisaged function of the Network is to be a platform for the exchange of research results, information, experience and good practice in the field of language learning and linguistic diversity. Communication among policy-makers, language planning professionals and those involved in language transfer and teaching will take place in face-to-face meetings at annual conferences and workshops as well as through publications and in on-line activities.
In addition, the Mercator Network aims to be a reference point for these target groups as well as for academics and students by providing accurate and reliable information, which can inform policy development at all levels of government and administration.
As successful policies need public support, it is also important to inform the public at large of the benefits of linguistic diversity and multilingualism. The Mercator Network’s activities can contribute to embracing positive attitudes towards multilingualism within minority and majority language communities. This includes disseminating information on language-related policies of the European Commission. But above all it means raising public awareness of language-related issues among speakers and non-speakers of minority and smaller state languages. The focal point is the role of language as an influential factor within social cohesion, economic prosperity and the specificity of regional identity.
The Mercator Network’s approach is inclusive of immigrant minorities and Deaf communities as well as regional and smaller state languages, and mutual understanding and cooperation are key elements in all aspects of the work. Though the emphasis is on academic research, the wider work of institutions responsible for language learning and language use, and the implementation of new teaching and policy models play an important part in the Mercator Network’s activities.
The Network consists of five members:
With the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union