Invisible Multilingualisms – Open Seminar (2013)

October 31, 2013 10:00 - 14:15

Invisible multilingualisms is a concept that can be used to refer to a lack of recognition of linguistic diversity in new or changing situations. Intensified mobility of people, goods, and languages has resulted in new speakers of national, regional, and minority languages, as well as unexpected spaces for lingua francas.

During a one-day open seminar held on October 31, 2013, researchers, language experts, and other actors working in changing multilingual settings came together to discuss and reflect on the ways in which multilingualism may be undervalued and unrecognized in many everyday-life situations at work, at school and in public service and administration in Finland. More than 40 people were in attendance.

As a way of extending the dialogue from that day, we asked the presenters to share some of the main points that they discussed during their presentations.  They can be viewed below.


Prof. Joan Pujolar, Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona
‘New speaker’: challenges and opportunities


Prof. Åsa Palviainen and Paulina Nyman-Koskinen, University of Jyvaskyla
An officially bilingual but invisibly multilingual state: the case of Swedish in Finland

Dr. Simo Määttä, University of Jyvaskyla
Erasing multilingualism: the case of public service interpreting

Sarah Compton, University of Jyvaskyla
Invisible multimodal-multilingualism: the case of sign languages in Finland


Program – October 31, 2013

10.00 a.m.     Welcome, Simo Määttä, Sari Pietikäinen and Minna Suni (Univ. of Jyväskylä)

10.15 a.m.     New speaker: challenges and opportunities. Prof. Joan Pujolar (Open Univ. of Catalonia

11.00 a.m.     New speakers and language revitalization in Sámiland.  Sari Pietikäinen (Univ. of Jyväskylä), Skolt Sámi language worker Merja Fofonoff and Inari Sámi language worker Miina Seurujärvi (Sámi giellagáldu, Finnish Sámi Parliament)

11.45 a.m.       Lunch (at one’s own expense)

12.30 p.m.    Invisible multimodal-multilingualism in homes, communities, and public domains: The case of Finnish Sign Language. Sarah Compton (Univ. of Jyväskylä) and special education teacher Irja Seilola

1.15 p.m.      An officially monolingual but invisibly multilingual preschool – the case of Swedish in Jyväskylä.  Åsa Palviainen (Univ. of Jyväskylä) and Director of Sivutasku Day Care Center Kirsti Nousiainen.

2.00 p.m.         Coffee

2.30 p.m.      Language issues and solutions in community interpreting today Simo Määttä (Univ. of Jyväskylä) and Dr. Veera Rautavuoma (Head of the Interpreting Centre of Central Finland)

3.15 p.m.      Invisible multilingualism in working life and migrant languages in Finnish schools. Minna Suni (Univ. of Jyväskylä) and Coordinator Pia Bärlund (City of Jyväskylä, Basic Education)

4.00 p.m.      Closing the seminar

More information: prof. Sari Pietikäinen (sari.p.pietikainen (at)

Organizers: University of Jyväskylä Department of Languages, New Speakers COST research network, and research projects funded by the Academy of Finland: Peripheral multilingualism; Language conceptions and practices in bilingual early childhood; Scaffolding and affordances: Second language learning as social participation.

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