- Yaron Matras
- Major cities are becoming ever more linguistically diverse – the outcome of increased mobility, but also of greater opportunities that immigrant communities have to support and maintain their languages through access to resources, communication technologies, and increasing social acceptability of multi-layered identities.
- In diverse, post-industrial urban settings with a constant influx of new arrivals and a need for economic diversification, language provisions are key to ensuring access to services and employment, supporting cultural heritage and community cohesion, and harnessing skills to support global outreach for economic growth and development.
- The complexity and rapid pace of change in urban settings mean that extensive, top-down regulatory frameworks for specific languages, of the kind that are often employed to protect regional and national languages, are not practical. Instead, policy and provisions must be responsive to demand and they need to involve a network of different players.
- Changing patterns of demand create a need for constant monitoring and assessment of data. This requires the development of new tools for data compilation and new procedures of data assessment. To ensure proper support for provisions and quality assurance, efforts are needed to increase public awareness of language diversity, to build confidence in multilingualism, and to share and promote good practice in language planning, including teaching and interpreting provisions.
- The need for new data tools and for public engagement and awareness-raising in regard to the value of languages opens an important space for the civic university, which can become a key player in the urban policy and planning environment.