Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

ZAS promotes small languages in Berlin


Community forum for speakers of small languages from the Leibniz Centre for General Linguistics (ZAS)

At the Leibniz Centre for General Linguistics, the Berlin Community Forum will take place for the first time on 17 November. Following the international conference 'Big Cities, Small Languages' (14.-16.11.), speakers of small languages in Berlin will have the opportunity to network with each other and exchange information about their language situation. For example, speakers of Fula and Abkhazian are expected. Fula is a Niger-Congo language spoken in parts of the Sahel. Abkhazian is spoken in Georgia, Russia and Turkey, among other places.

Out with the language, Berlin!
The first Berlin Community Forum starts with short lectures on the situation of small languages. Afterwards, the participants will be able to exchange their experiences as a small community of speakers. Video recordings will also be made at the meeting.
in which the speakers introduce themselves and their language. Using a method developed by the SOAS World Languages Institute in London, the recordings are uploaded during the event on a map showing the speakers' place of origin and their language.

Big cities, small languages
The aim of the Berlin Community Forum is to support speakers of small languages in preserving their languages in Berlin and to promote contacts between language communities in Berlin and scientists. The conference 'Big Cities, Small Languages', which takes place in front of the Community Forum, brings together scientists* from all over the world to show how the presence and initiatives of speakers of small languages in large cities such as Berlin can contribute to language preservation, revitalisation and documentation.

Surprising linguistic diversity in cities
As a result of the process of urbanisation, the relocation of the population to large cities, large cities often become home to many small languages, resulting in surprisingly rich local linguistic diversity. There are 800 languages in New York City, at least 250 languages are spoken in London, and at least 120 languages are currently spoken in Berlin.

The Berlin Community Forum is organized by the Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) in cooperation with the Institute for German Language and Linguistics of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the SWLI (SOAS World Languages Institute, London). The conference 'Big Cities, Small Languages' is a cooperation of the ZAS with the SWLI, the Mercator Research Centre (Netherlands) and the Interdisclipinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation (Portugal).

Prof. Dr. Manfred Krifka, Director
Tel. (030) 20 192-401