Proceedings of the International Conference on European Multilingualism: Shaping Sustainable Educational and Social Environment (EMSSESE 2019)

EMSSESE 2019, the International Conference on “European Multilingualism: Shaping Sustainable Educational and Social Environments”, was held at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov in Arkhangelsk, Russia, on 23-24 April 2019. Co-sponsored by Erasmus+ (Jean Monnet), EMSSESE 2019 forms part of a broader EU project, entitled “Multilingualism: the EU Dimension in Language Policy and Education”, which is dedicated to the development and expansion of linguistic diversity in the EU. The Erasmus+ programme guide offers the following definition of its key principle:

Multilingualism is one of the cornerstones of the European project and a powerful symbol of the EU’s aspiration to be united in diversity. Foreign languages have a prominent role among the skills that will help equip people better for the labour market and make the most of available opportunities. The EU has set the goal that every citizen should have the opportunity to acquire at least two foreign languages, from an early age [1].

EMSSESE 2019 is premised on a view that the protection and expansion of Multilingualism is a public good – “that cultures, races, and ethnicities, particularly those of minority groups, deserve special acknowledgement of their differences within a dominant political culture” [2]. As such, the conference focussed on an exploration of these core concepts in Multilingualism within an EU context. Participants in EMSSESE 2019 contributed from a range of disciplines. Scientists, young researchers, university lecturers and school teachers as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations, public agencies and cultural institutions, exchanged ideas in the fields of language policy, education, sociology, philology, linguistics, philosophy, and literature. Speakers from several Russian cities – Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Ekaterinburg and Glazov – as well as from Poland, Ireland, Belgium and France presented their research.

The conference was structured around a number of focus areas connected with the theme of Multilingualism, namely: multilingual strategies connected with global communication (code-switching and code-mixing); the coexistence and interdependence of different language systems; the development of the multicultural individual, with an ability to communicate across languages and cultures; the role of foreign languages as a medium of instruction in education; how national identities are explored through multilingualism in fictional literature; and the formation and implementation of state policies aimed at preserving the native languages of ethnic minorities, supporting world languages for people living in different countries and the multilingual education of the citizens. These categories shaped the structure of the conference program, and have subsequently informed the three subsections of these proceedings.

1 – Linguistic, Cultural and Social issues of Multilingualism
Section 1 features papers that explore phonological transfer in bilingual regions; strategies of mono-, bi- and multiculturalism in textbooks of foreign languages; the methods in which cross-cultural communication was carried out in Arkhangelsk, Russia, during the Lend-Lease supplies via the Arctic convoys; and further research concerning language systems, language use, cultural concepts and national identities. Boyarskaya, Shevchenko and Tomashevskaya, for instance, discuss the topical “European English”, or Euro-English, a variation of English spoken in European institutions and continental Europe under the conditions of multilingualism, and the similarities and differences between British English and European English in their vocabulary and grammar.

2 – Multilingualism and Education
Section 2 features a broad range of papers examining the intersection between multilingualism and education from early childhood development to university level. The EMSSESE 2019 conference and Erasmus+ (Jean Monnet) project has already provided the impetus for new educational approaches in multilingualism. “European Dimension in Language Policy and Education”, a training course in English which was presented at the conference in April 2019, has been successfully implemented at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia as an elective course for second-year undergraduate students. The course offers an overview of key aspects of language policy and language education in a number of European Union member states, and analyses the challenges faced by the European community in implementing language and educational policies. More particularly, the course outlines the political and economic structures of the EU, explores the functions of key European institutions, and examines the formation and practical implementation of protection mechanisms for official and unofficial languages within the bloc, with an emphasis on minority and indigenous languages. A more detailed description of this course and its connected ideas are presented in these conference proceedings.

3 – Creative Multilingualism
Section 3 explores creative approaches to the concept of Multilingualism as an expression of cultural identity, with a number of papers utilising literature, memoir, and children’s fiction as textual sources. Dulova and Nikolayev, for instance, seek to redress the overlooked distinction between the two generations of Russian First-Wave Émigré writers, particularly as it pertains to the artistic world-view of the later writers. Another paper explores the ambivalent category of “Englishness”, with its associated national identity crises, as expressed in Kazuo Ishiguru’s novel, The Remains of the Day. Two papers explore the German language: the first examines migrant discourse in German society, with an analysis of the hybrid identities that emerge; the second focuses on code-switching in memoir discourse through the lens of contact linguistics, using Yevgeny Gagarin’s German-language work as an illustrative text. The Irish language also features, in the context of a discussion on Irish-language poetry within a predominantly English-language literary milieu. Children’s literature is the subject of the last paper in this section, which focuses on the role of illustrated books in the formation of multilingual environments.


We wish to express our deep appreciation to all those who assisted with the creation, collation and co-ordination of this publication: to the conference participants and presenters, whose research enriches our understanding of multilingualism; to the organizing committee members of the EMSSESE 2019, who successfully co-ordinated this large interdisciplinary event; and finally, we address our sincere gratitude to the reviewers and editors of the conference papers for their thoughtful work and invaluable contribution in the preparation of these proceedings. The aim of the EMSSESE 2019 – to create a common platform for scholars, educators and students in order to exchange their ideas on multilingualism, and to provide impetus for further research in their respective fields – was successfully fulfilled, and we hope the results of this collaboration will enrich the common discussion.


Caitriona Kirby, Ireland
Larisa Shchipitsina, Russia

[1] European Commission, Erasmus+ Programme Guide, Version 2 (2019): 15/01/2019 []

[2] Eagan, Jennifer L. Multiculturalism // Britannica online. (retrieved 07.10.2019).