About COST Action IS1306 on New Speakers

This COST Action focuses on the dynamics involved in becoming a “new speaker” of a language in the context of a multilingual Europe.

Our COST Action is part of an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST). This framework allows the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. Our Action was approved as an ISCH Action by the Committee of Senior Officials in May 2013. The First Management Committee meeting was held in October 2013 in Brussels.

Globalization, increased mobility and transnational networking transform the linguistic ecologies of contemporary societies.

In this Action, the aim is to bring multilinguals into the focus by investigating the challenges and opportunities involved in acquiring, using and being understood as a “new speaker” of a language in the context of a multilingual Europe.

From this perspective, new speakers are multilingual citizens who, by engaging with languages other than their “native” or “national” language(s), need to cross existing social boundaries, re-evaluate their own levels of linguistic competence and creatively (re)structure their social practices to adapt to new and overlapping linguistic spaces.

The network facilitates structured dialogue and collaboration amongst researchers from three different multilingual strands:

  1. Regional minorities
  2. Immigrants
  3. Transnational workers

New Speakers Network

The members of the New Speakers network share an interest in examining the opportunities and challenges involved in being, becoming, and being understood as a “new speaker” of a language in contemporary multilingual societies.

As is well known, globalization, increased mobility and transnational networking have radically transformed the linguistic dynamics of the world. Engaging with these processes, our network focuses on multilinguals and the diverse facets of not only acquiring and using a new language, but also being understood as a “new speaker” of that language, in the context of a multilingual Europe.

We view new speakers as multilingual individuals who engage with languages other than their “native” or “national” one(s). In doing so, these speakers are often faced with crossing existing social boundaries, (re-)evaluating their own levels of linguistic competence, and adapting to new and overlapping linguistic spaces.

Our members consist of academics, researchers, policy makers and practitioners with expertise in different multilingual contexts.

Regional minority languages, such as Irish, Galician, Catalan, etc., are one area of research and expertise represented in the network.

Immigrant contexts constitute another principle area of interest for our members, as does the concept of new speakers as workers, taking into consideration diverse workplaces and (trans)national situations.

By taking part in the network, you can join us in our efforts to identify common themes across all of these different multilingual spheres and to compare “new speaker” profiles from different multilingual contexts.

This comparative approach will help us develop a more holistic understanding of multilingualism and to rethink how languages are managed at all levels and in all spaces, including education, healthcare, the workplace, family, community, the media, cyberspace and public institutions.

Our core working group themes are profiled below.

Core Working Group Themes

  • New speakers and indigenous minorities
  • New speakers in the context of migration
  • New speakers as workers

We welcome your contributions and would love to hear about your research on these and related themes. 

The New Speakers Forum

ideasThe New Speakers Forum is an interactive space in which to share ideas, research and best practices related to the opportunities and challenges facing multilingual speakers in contemporary society. 

Through its focus on new speakers, the Forum is designed to explore the multi-faceted dynamics of engaging with languages other than one’s ‘native’ or ‘national’ language(s) within and across diverse contexts in a globalized, multilingual world. 

We invite you to use our website to:

  • Access existing research and information on new speakers in multilingual contexts 
  • Find out more about case studies across a range of contexts and sites
  • Share your research with other researchers  
  • Share and develop good practice for the management of linguistic diversity 

Contact Us

If you are interested in joining our network please get in touch. We would love to hear about how your research relates to the “new speaker” theme.

Please contact us via email or by post.


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