The conference Linguistic dominance and inequality was hosted by the Department of Language and Linguistics, Malmö University, November 15-16, 2017, and attracted many interesting national and international researchers in the fields: (Programme & Abstracts. Co-organizers Maria Wiktorsson, Teresa Tomasevic and Karina Vamling.
Many societies today are increasingly multilingual and more knowledge about multilingual urban areas is needed to contribute to sustainable societal development, counteract exclusion and alienation, and encourage democratic engagement. Widening participation is necessary to make higher education institutions reflect the population at large and create quality in higher education through diversity, and issues of how linguistic dominance and inequality may affect access to and achievement in higher education are therefore highly relevant. In a globalized world, local languages are ‘competing’ with English in both academic and corporate contexts, and this situation can affect communicative quality and equality and may influence the future development of local languages.
The theme of the conference is topical in the highly multilingual city of Malmö. In the introduction to the conference I talked about the top 10 languages in major urban areas in Sweden (on the basis of statistics from Skolverket and SCB, academic year 2016/2017).
Greater Malmö (Pop: 717,000, 25,534*)
1 Arabic – 27%, 2 Danish – 6%, 3 English – 6% , 4 Albanian, 5 Bosnian, 6 Polish, 7 Spanish, 8 Somali, 9 Dari, 10 Turkish.
Greater Gothenburg (Pop: 1,009,000, 29,497*)
1 Arabic – 17%, 2 Somali – 10%, 3 English – 7%, 4 Persian, 5 Bosnian, 6 Spanish, 7 Turkish, 8 Polish, 9 Dari, 10 Serbian.
Greater Stockholm (Pop: 2,990,000, 76,077*)
1 Arabic – 18%, 2 Spanish – 9%, 3 English – 8%, 4 Turkish, 5 Somali, 6 Polish, 7 Finnish, 8 Russian, 9 Persian, 10 Tigrinja,
*Total number of school children entitled to additional classes in other languages than Swedish.
Karina Vamling: Malmös språkliga landskap (The linguistic landscape of the city of Malmö (in Swedish).