AEAL 2013 Bilbao – 7th International Conference on Language Acquisition

Next week the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) hosts the seventh edition of the AEAL Conference in Bilbao from 4 to 6 September 2013.

The Association for the Study of Language Acquisition AEAL (Asociación para el Estudio de la Adquisición del Lenguaje) is oriented to the study of the acquisition and learning of SPANISH, CATALAN, GALICIAN and BASQUE languages by children and adolescents. Its triennial conference is a great occasion for meeting experts in language acquisition working in a varied set of areas such as grammar, lexicon, discourse, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, sociolinguistics, language didactics and pedagogy.

Plenary speakers include Laurie Tuller (UniversitéFrançois-Rabelais, Tours, Frantzia), Lourdes de León (CIESAS, Mexiko), Nancy Hornberger (University of Pennsylvania, AEB) and Bernard Schneuwly (Université de Genève, Suitza).

For more information, please visit AEAL Bilbao’s website.

Today’s launch: Basque Country

Did you know about…


“A special aspect of education in the Basque Country is the linguistic Basquisation of adults. For centuries, the relationship between Basque and Spanish or French was one-way. Many Basque speakers abandoned their language and, either of their own free will or forced by circumstances, they adopted one of the official languages. Since the sixties, the relationship between Basque and Spanish or French has been reciprocal. Basque continues to lose speakers in the French Basque Country, but, at the same time, many Basques whose mother tongue is French or Spanish are learning Basque. Some people who have learned Basque in adulthood have obtained such a command of the language that they have become famous writers in Basque or even members of the Academy of the Basque Language. Currently, as many as 40,000 people are learning Basque or improving their level in the so-called euskaltegis, centres for adult learning and the perfecting of Basque. Without euskaltegis and the enlargement of the Basque-speakers community, the revival of the language (in the sense that this term has been used so far) would have been almost impossible.”

The Basque launch will take place on 12 June at the Sala Arriaga, University of Vasque Country, Bilbao. The speakers at this launch are:

  • Silvia Berny, Director British Council Bilbao
  • Aneta Quraishy, Senior Project Manager, Language Rich Europe
  • Iván Igartua, Director of Research, Department of Culture, Vasque Government
  • Olatz Olaso, Representative EMUN

Some 50 million EU citizens, 10% of the EU population, speak a regional or minority language

Some of my recent posts (Reindeer racing in Sápmi, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit, etc.) have been triggered by news items I’ve spotted in the Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity’s  website. The NPLD is a pan-European network which covers regional, minority, indigenous, cross-border and smaller national languages to promote linguistic diversity in the context of a multilingualEurope.  Some 50 million EU citizens, 10% of the EU population, speak a regional or minority language.

The network currently includes representatives from the following languages: Finnish, Basque, Catalan, Breton, Occitan, Cornish, Welsh, Swedish, Lithuanian, Irish Gaelic, Frisian, Estonian, Sami, Corsican, Galician, Meänkieli and Karelian.

Their aim is to facilitate the sharing of existing best practice and the development of new and innovative ideas across the field of language planning in education, the home, the workplace, legislation and the media in the contexts of constitutional, regional and smaller state languages.

NPLD website

According to the network: “as language planners we are aware that many of the issues facing these linguistic communities will be very similar and that sharing good practice is a must if these languages are to survive and flourish.” 

Further information can be found on the NPLD website ( which includes news stories concerning the network and European multilingualism, which brings me back to where I started.