Not Only in German Please! Ideas for Multi-lingualism

Debates over integration have foregrounded the obligation to learn the German language. While standardized state-approved integration courses have been established, there are other German classes that support critical appropriation of the majority language. The emphasis there is on expanding possibilities for participation. Equal participation for minorities in the labor market can only be made possible by supporting the languages of minorities.

In South Tyrol, for example, public sector positions are filled according to “language proportion”. This requires that the three language groups (Italian, German, Ladin) be represented according to their respective share of the population. Why shouldn’t this principle apply in Austria and Germany as well?

After a series of short talks, Günther Rautz, Rubia Salgado and Verena Wisthaler joined Farida Heuck in a discussion about forms of multi-linguality from the state (South Tyrol) and migrant (maiz) perspectives.

Farida HEUCK is a visual artist based in Berlin. Her work repeatedly confronts the area of tension between art and politics. She conceives of her multimedia site- and context-specific installations as an interface between the conditions and the media representation of migration. Central questions concern the inscribing of identity in everyday life, its stereotyping and the resulting criteria of inclusion and exclusion.

Günther RAUTZ works as a coordinator and collaborator at the Institute for the Rights of Minorities at the European Academy in Bolzano (EURAC).

Rubia SALGADO is a co-founder of the Autonomous Center of and for Migrant Women Linz (maiz).

Verena WISTHALER works as a research assistant at the Institute for Minority Rights (EURAC). She contributed to the research project MigrAlp 2008-11 together with ZeMiT, Center for Migrants in Tyrol, Innsbruck.

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