The DYLAN Project - Language Dynamics and the Management of Diversity

The human language faculty has an endowment for multilingualism. Assuming that this can be confirmed, the view of child bilingualism as a potential source of possible disturbances must be abandoned. Instead, monolingualism can be regarded as resulting from an impoverished environment where an opportunity to exhaust the potential of the language faculty is not fully developed.

Jürgen Meisel, 2004

The DYLAN project was a European Union Framework 6 Integrated Project involving 20 research institutions in 12 European countries which was active for 5 years until 2012. It aimed to identify the conditions under which Europe's linguistic diversity could be an asset rather than a drawback for the development of knowledge and the economy. Essentially it aimed to investigate how different modes of thought, argumentation and action, which themselves are linked to different languages, could be involved in the development and transmission of knowledge, and how they might play a role in problem solving, decision making, and general interaction.

The project's analytical framework was organised around four sets of variables: language practices; representations of multilingualism and linguistic diversity; language policies implemented by the authorities, and language strategies of private sector companies; and the linguistic environment in which actors operate. The team at Glasgow Caledonian, headed by Dr Chalmers was tasked with Identifying 'good policies' elaborated by States by analysing the ways in which companies picture multilingualism, possible actions on multilingualism, and the role of multilingualism in defining the image of companies.

Areas of interest for the Glasgow Caledonian Team :

  • The extent to which companies in Scotland choose to use Gaelic, and in Wales, Welsh
  • The motivation behind companies' choice of language for business
  • The impact of bodies such as the Gaelic Language Board
  • The impact of new legislation, such as the Gaelic Language Act on organisations in the Public sector
  • The impact of such recent policy developments on the private business sector
  • Comparisons, where appropriate with the situation in Wales

Although the active work of the project is now finished, the website of the Dylan Project can be found here

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