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Language contact, multilingualism and minorities in the Romance-speaking world

Explore language contact in multilingual and language minority settings

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • CIVIS Hub 2
Course dates
15 January - 20 March

This course consists of lectures, seminars and student presentations. In collaboration with the teachers, students will organize a workshop for the presentations. Students will also prepare for each lesson by reading relevant parts of the course literature. Reading instructions and course materials such as teacher presentations or reflection questions about the literature will be continuously posted on the CIVIS learning platform. During the classes, students are expected to participate actively and contribute to the discussion. To achieve the learning objectives, students will, among other things, discuss how languages change in multilingual settings and how different groups' language practices may be affected by, for example, ideologies and language policies.

Main topics addressed

This short term virtual CIVIS course will address the following main topics:

  • Language contact, multilingualism and minorities in settings in the Romance-speaking world
  • Theories and methods applicable to the study of multilingual environments

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand and reflect upon multilingualism in the Romance-speaking world based on set examples from the reading list (and/or previous studies) and course activities;
  • Apply several theories and methods addressed during the course to either analyse language contexts characterised by language contact and change or discuss specific cases of language policy and planning;
  • Create a proposal for a small field study that aims to explore a situation, where language contact takes place within a set context of language policy or planning in an environment where Romance languages are spoken.
Format: Virtual  Dates: 15 January - 20 March 2024
ECTS: 7,5*  Language: English (B2)
Contact: Weekly study: 20 hours

*The recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Schedule of the course

This CIVIS course will be running for 10 weeks, from January to March. It will consist of 20 hours of classes and approx. 12 hours of workshops with student presentations (depending on the number of students).

A maximum of 20 international CIVIS students will be accepted in the course in a total of 25 students. 


This virtual mobility course is open to Master's students at one of the ten CIVIS member universities, with an advanced level and/or a Bachelor's degree in Languages, Linguistics, History, Philosophy, or a related program. 

Applicants need to be enrolled at their home university to be eligible for selection and participation.  If uncertain about your status at your home university (part-time or exchange students etc.) please check with your home university’s website or International Office. 

Applicants who will be receiving other Erasmus funds for the duration of the course are not entitled to funding. Participation in the course may still be possible under “zero-grant” status, but applicants should contact their home university to confirm this. 

A list of links and contacts for each university can be found in this Q&A.

A B2 level of English is required. Lectures, students' presentations, and discussions will be in English, but readings and group discussions may be in Romance languages. 

Application process

Applicants should send by 1 December 2023 to

  • CV
  • Cover letter (50-100 words)

In their cover letter, applicants should explain the reason why they want to participate in this particular course as well as their contribution to the course.

The application should also include B2 certificate in English. If a student cannot provide a certificate, a short interview will be held in English to confirm that students have the required language skills.

Students also need to provide a copy of Passport or ID and contact person at their department/institution.

Evaluation criteria

Students who meet the entry requirements and have submitted their application on time will compete for places in the course. If there are more eligible applicants than spaces available, preference will be given to those who are proficient in two or more Romance languages.


Students are expected to actively participate and contribute to the discussions during classes. To achieve the learning objectives, students will, among other things, discuss how languages change in multilingual settings and how different groups' language practices may be affected by, for example, ideologies and language policy.

The assessment will be based on 3 assignments:

  • Assignment 1: a short written and oral assignment (1 page).
  • Assignment 2: oral presentation (20 min) of a proposal for a field study with the aim of exploring a language contact setting or language policies in a context where Romance languages are spoken.
  • Assignment 3: the written proposal for the same field study (3000-4000 words). 

The oral presentations will be in English, but the written assignments can be written in one of the following languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. Selected students will receive more detailed instructions in due course.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Laura Álvarez López

Laura Álvarez López is a Professor of Portuguese at Stockholm University. Her sociolinguistic research focuses on varieties of Portuguese and Spanish and aims to study linguistic and social factors that influence language variation and change in intercultural and multilingual settings.

Sabina Gola

Sabina Gola, PhD in Romance Philology, is a lecturer at the Université libre de Bruxelles and has been teaching the Italian language since 1998. She is the Academic Coordinator of French as a Foreign Language. Her scientific interests lie in the Italian language and linguistics but also in the intercomprehension between Romance languages and didactics of plurilingualism. She designed and developed MultiGram, an open-source multilingual online platform. In collaboration with other colleagues, she designed RomaNet, the platform for Romance languages. She is also the Academic Head of the "Linguistic Tandem" module.

Luisa Martín Rojo

Luisa Martín Rojo is Professor of Linguistics at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and Director of the UAM MIRCo Research Center for Multilingualism, Discourse and Communication. She is also a founding member and the former President of the International Association Discourse Studies and Society (EDiSo). Through her research trajectory, she has conducted and lead research in the fields of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and communication, mainly focused on social inequality and sociolinguistic justice. 

Bernadette O’Rourke

Bernadette O’Rourke is a Professor of Sociolinguistics and Hispanic Studies at the University of Glasgow. Her research sits within the broad area of sociolinguistics and the sociology of language and focuses on the political and social meanings of language and their influence on society. She has specialisms in minority languages, multilingualism, language policy, and language ideologies.