Multilingualism as a daily reality for the CIC

Follow up Conference „Mehrsprachigkeit als Chance“ Pädagogische Hochschule Kärnten

8.-10. September 2021

Dr. Karin Martin & Lic. María Piedad Guerrero Arjona

The CIC would like to congratulate Karin and María for presenting at the conference „Multilingualism as Chance“ at the Pädagogische Hochschule Kärnten at the beginning of September!

The conference series "Multilingualism as Chance" presents the lived multilingualism of people in multilingual regions and countries from theoretical, didactic and practical perspectives. The focus was on questions of how multilingual regions in Europe deal with language requirements in elementary education, higher education and university contexts, and what significance is given to the development and facilitation of linguistic identities in educational institutions.

The overall goal of the conference was to sensitize education professionals (teachers, university lecturers, student teachers) to multilingualism, identity and education through a topic-focused and international discourse. The conference was financially supported by the province of Carinthia through the project “CARINTHIja 2020”.

During their talk “Multilingualism as a daily reality for the Carinthian International Center”, Karin and María highlighted how multilingualism is a very relevant topic, which needs to be discussed at all levels of society. The main aim of the presentation was to show how the Carinthian International Center has been able to make a valuable contribution towards raising the awareness of the language diversity of the region, and towards the recognition of multilingualism. In a country where it was historically difficult to claim a second mother tongue, and where in the meantime children of mixed families are growing up with 4 languages, language learning professional support is needed, as well as a clear guide for parents to navigate the multilingual context in the best possible way.

Multilingualism as a chance and interculturality as a resource are fundamental concepts of the CIC philosophy. Karin and María showed the interesting results of a survey and different interviews they conducted in the past months with CIC members. They also introduced the topic of “Family Language policy”, which is a pioneering and dynamically thriving interdisciplinary field of study. Family Language Policy represents the way multilingual families navigate their daily life. It is shaped by parents language ideologies and their decisions, however more recent studies also point to the child's agency. Three elements made up the language policy: language practices, language beliefs, and language management. The results of the survey and the interviews conducted by Karin and Maria showed that the family language policy of CIC members is a very dynamic, evolving process, shaped by all family members and influenced by social, cultural, economic and political factors. Parents believes always translate into concrete actions, yet the decisive role in particular language choices is played by their children, and this points to child agency in shaping family language policy.

They further explained how the CIC experiences multilingualism in its daily tasks through its international team, members and clients, as well as locals interested in meeting internationals.

The feedback by those who joined the talk was very positive. Some of them wanted to know more about the CIC and we even might have gained some new members.

With their presentation, Karin and María wanted to make a contribution in order to recognize that globalization, migration and diversity are characteristics of the modern societies. The CIC strongly recognize that linguistic diversity is already a given reality in daily life worldwide, and here in this region, as our respondents showed.

We want to warmly thank all CIC members who answered our survey and a special thank you to the families whom we had the pleasure to interview!

If you would like to know more about the conference, do not hesitate to contact us!


Dr. Karin Martin            info@karinmartin-linguist.com

Lic. María Piedad Guerrero Arjona     maria.guerrero@cic-network.at