We live in a world where multilingualism is the norm and monolingualism the exception. How do we deal with the challenges that this brings with it for the individual, for society and for institutions?
There's no doubt that multilingualism has important implications
for communication, identity, social and cultural integration,
development and education.
With its world-leading expertise in the fields of cognition, society and language the University of Groningen now offers a one-year Master's track in Multilingualism in co-operation with University Campus Fryslan (UCF) and NHL University of Applied Sciences.
The Multilingualism Master's track is unique in combining
teaching of many societal, individual, educational, cultural and
historical aspects of multilingualism with a practical,
Students learn to deal with day-to-day issues such as helping companies overcome communication problems, design language policies or give schools advice on how best to teach children with foreign language backgrounds. They receive a MA degree in Linguistics.
The challenging Master's track in Multilingualism is situated in the picturesque town of Leeuwarden, capital of the officially multilingual province Fryslân in the Netherlands. Frisian is the second official language of the country. This setting allows students immediate access to a multilingual laboratory.
In the future I would like to develop language tests and educational material for multilingual children
Multilingualism is a very recent development in our society and it is no longer exceptional to speak several languages. We need to make adaptations in the field of language policy and education, we need to better protect language minorities, and we need new research about language change and variation. These are just a few examples of the fields you can specialize in during this Master's track.
I chose to do a Master’s track abroad because I wanted to seize the opportunity get to know another language and culture, as well as to improve my English. This all adds up to quite an advantage if you want to work in the field of multilingualism, especially if you live and study in a bilingual area as in Friesland.
One of the course units I’m following this semester is Language Minorities: The Case of Frisian. This course unit is a bit different in that every week we have an excursion and some practical work to do. For example, we conducted a survey at the NHL in Leeuwarden and asked students about their attitudes towards Frisian, and another time we analysed the distribution of different languages in a street in Leeuwarden.
One of the best things about the programme is that you can combine your thesis with a placement, which gives you the chance to make an initial connection with the companies you would like to work with after your studies.
“The program is unique in its kind.”
This study focuses especially on multilingualism from a social perspective such as linguistic minorities, language change, contact linguistics and language policy and planning. Next to this, I chose this study as it focuses more on the practical sides. There are excursions to events and institutions that deal with multilingual settings and in these excursions you get to experience in which ways multiple languages are used.
I chose to do this study as I think the program is unique in its kind. The program takes place in Leeuwarden, a bilingual province with multilingual practices. I think the master is challenging as it makes you think about multilingualism in different perspectives. I would say it is a full-time study as the pace of studying is quite high. I certainly study around 40 hours per week. However, I do not mind the workload that much as I really like the topics that we discuss in class. The program of the first semester is very fixed with the planned excursions and the weekly classes. The second semester will consist of your internship or another course at the RUG and your Master’s thesis.
I am particularly interested in linguistic ideologies and the role these play in the ethno-linguistic vitality of minoritized languages
I studied Minorities and Multilingualism at the University of Groningen (RUG), and, after enjoying an intellectually stimulating BA programme, I decided to continue with the MA Multilingualism, to round off my academic education. I am particularly interested in linguistic ideologies and the role these play in the ethno-linguistic vitality of minoritized languages, so this master's track was a perfect match for me.
The team of outstanding academics give thought-provoking, intellectually challenging lectures that help students develop their knowledge of the subject matter and challenge widespread conceptions about Multilingualism.
During the first semester of this master's track one has 12 hours of lectures a week, spread out in three days. The rest of the week one has to dedicate to either self-study or to the completion of different assignments. As both the reading materials and the assignments are engaging this a more than enjoyable activity. During the second semester one is expected to write the master's thesis and either do an internship or choose an extra course.