The 6th International Symposium on Bilingualism. May 30 - June 2, 2007, University of Hamburg


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The Research Centre on Multilingualism

The Research Centre on Multilingualism is a government-funded institution established in 1999. Its research focuses on microanalyses of oral and written communication in multilingual settings and of language development in the bilingual individual.

This work is based on the assumption that human cognition predisposes the individual to become multilingual, that the knowledge of more than one language increases communicative possibilities rather than decreasing them, and that diachronic studies of multilingualism can lead to a better understanding of contemporary situations and to solutions for emerging problems. Hypotheses based on these assumptions are empirically tested through cultural as well as cognitive studies.

Among the multilingual settings investigated are societal and family bilingualism, situations arising from labour migration, as well as contexts where more than one language is used in education or at the workplace, at home or during extended or short-term stays in a foreign country. By comparing a range of different linguistic, cultural and social settings, it is hoped that both general and situation-specific factors can be identified which either favour multilingualism or else render it a disadvantage to the individual or the society.

The centre currently comprises 15 projects investigating various aspects of bi- and multilingualism. Since January 2006, Monika Rothweiler is chair of the centre.
(C)SFB 538