Languages and Identities in Europe

Le Nomade (Jaume Plensa)
Le Nomade (Jaume Plensa), Antibes, France. Photo by Jonathan Larson.

Many departments and disciplines at the University of Illinois contribute to the study of languages and identities. Foundational to this interest is the commitment of the U of I to the research and teaching of languages and linguistics and the investment of outside agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education Title VI NRA and FLAS fellowship programs to the teaching of the procedural languages of the European Union as well as less commonly taught languages of the European region (including such more commonly known languages as Italian, Polish, Swedish, Czech, and Bulgarian). As part of this commitment to promoting less commonly taught languages, as well as to supporting Mediterranean Studies, the EU Center helps fund the University of Illinois's Summer Institute for Languages of the Muslim World (SILMW)

Europe is a global region where the importance of studying linguistic diversity and its implications for belonging has been particularly strong. Faculty in the U of I’s School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics in particular contribute to explorations of language and identity in Europe, with one example being the upcoming 25th Annual Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages on endangered languages and diaspora organized by Eda Derhemi, Teaching Associate Professor of French & Italian. The topic of language and identity in Europe is also one that graduate students from around the country examine and present on at the Sociolinguistics Symposium. Students of European languages and social issues have also contributed regularly to a blog hosted by the EUC, Linguis Europae. Another locus of activity for the study of European languages at the U of I is the Center for Translation Studies. Language instruction, academic conferences, and student experiences have all been supported through the EU Center’s success with U.S. Department of Education and Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Center of Excellence grants. One snapshot of how U of I faculty and graduate students continue to test new ways of engaging students in the study of language and identity is described here.