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Expert in the Spotlight in 2011: Jeroen Darquennes

Jeroen DarquennesThe expert in the Spotlight feature gives you the chance to interact one-in-one with our Ask the expert-section. The feature also provides interesting and insightful comments regarding the subjects mentioned above, in-depth content and exclusive Q and A’s.

Featured Expert / Area of focus:
Jeroen Darquennes (in photo) is associate professor (chargé de cours) of German and General Linguistics at the University of Namur, visiting professor at the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis and the University of Luxembourg, and an affiliated research fellow at the Fryske Akademy/Mercator European Research Center on Multilingualism and Language Learning in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden (The Netherlands). He is specialised in research on language contact and language conflict in European indigenous language minority settings (with a special emphasis on language policy & planning). He is one of the general editors of Sociolinguistica. The Yearbook of European Sociolinguistics published by De Gruyter (the other two editors are Ulrich Ammon and Sue Wright) and member of the editorial board of Sociolinguistic Studies (Equinox Publishing).

Face to face with Jeroen Darquennes

What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages/education/multilingualism?
After finishing my studies in Germanic languages and literatures in Brussels and Leuven in the second half of the 1990s I embarked on a PhD project under the supervision of Peter Nelde. In my PhD I dealt with aspects of language revitalization in the historically German-speaking area of the Belgian province of Luxembourg. It was Peter who introduced me to the fascinating world of contact and conflict linguistics, sociolinguistics and language minority studies.

What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?
In my research I mainly focus on processes of language shift, maintenance and revitalization in European language minority settings and on the interplay of these processes with issues of language policy and planning. One of the major challenges related to this type of research is to try and attune the theoretical, methodological and applied aspects that are part of it to the EU’s ’demand’ for an ‘inclusive approach’ to issues of multilingualism and linguistic diversity. The research community faces the task of taking the interplay between all the different constituents of multilingual reality as a starting point to develop multidimensional and multidisciplinary reflections on future (supra)national and regional LPP initiatives in Europe.

What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?
Together with my colleagues Laurence Mettewie and Dirk Delabastita I recently founded a research group on plurilingualism called Pluri-ll (Groupe de Recherche sur le Plurilinguisme) at the University of Namur. In the next years, I hope to be able to develop a number of collaborative research projects in which the people of Pluri-LL have the opportunity to interact with colleagues who are active in comparible research groups.

As an affiliated researcher of the Mercator Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning I’m looking forward to play an active role in some of the fascinating projects listed in the Mercator research agenda 2011-2014.

I’m currently preparing volume 25 of Sociolinguistica (picture), i.e. the Yearbook of European Sociolinguistics (published by De Gruyter). This volume (for which I invited my colleague Wim Vandenbussche as a co-editor) deals with the multifaceted interplay between language and religion. It is scheduled to appear in the autumn of this year.

Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?
It’s always interesting to try and keep track of developments in bigger networks and integrated projects. That’s why I would recommend people to have a look not only at the Mercator-website but also at the websites of LINEE, DYLAN, ELDIA, EUNoM, Language Rich Europe, etc.

I'd also would like to point out that the yearbook Sociolinguistica (already mentioned above) contains a European sociolinguistics bibliography. This bibliography (the first one was published in 1987) is a rich and useful source of information for people active in the field of sociolinguistics.

Do you have any questions on these topics?
Ask Jeroen

Featured topic:

Our focus this month lies on Linguistic diversity and multilingualism.