Research and impact

Multilingualism and the Voices of Young People in Luxembourg (MULTILUX project)

This project aims to gauge young people’s viewpoints on the ways that different languages are used in Luxembourg, with a focus on the interface between language policies at the level of the state and everyday linguistic practices in Luxembourg. Of particular significance is the increasing use of English, as well as other languages, in relation to long-standing and institutionally anchored patterns of Luxembourgish-German-French trilingualism. This project is informed by research on the sociolinguistics of globalisation and it brings together two areas of linguistics that do not have an extensive tradition of being merged: interactional sociolinguistics and language policy. Ethnographic fieldwork entails focus group discussions with 18-30 year old participants, with a particular emphasis on the roles of different languages used in education as well as social and professional life. As a highly multilingual country, Luxembourg constitutes an optimal site to examine linguistic practices and policies, as well as the valorisation and stigmatisation of multilingual repertoires at a time of major change in Europe.

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Citizenship, Identity and Language in Luxembourg (LUXCITIZEN project)

The 2008 law on Luxembourgish nationality constitutes one of the most significant forms of legislation in contemporary Luxembourg. This project explores the motivations and rationale behind the new law – including the decision to implement formalised language testing in Luxembourgish – and it also seeks to understand the impact that this law is having on social actors. Dr Horner’s work provides an analysis of the ways in which this policy is discursively negotiated in multiple sites, including media discourse and legislative texts. Ms Kremer’s analysis is focused on semi-structured interviews conducted with individuals who are applying or have recently applied for Luxembourgish nationality. The project examines how official policies are intertwined with individual experiences and findings also unpack the multiple conceptualisations of citizenship.

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Multilingualism and Mobility in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (WUN collaborations)

The relationship between language and culture is central to our understanding of migration discourses and experiences. We approach the WUN Global Challenge of ’Understanding Cultures’ by taking the interface between Multilingualism and Mobility as our departure point. It is frequently claimed that linguistic and cultural diversity present challenges in contemporary societies. This diversity also presents opportunities, including ways that multilingualism can function as a bridge for intercultural encounters and intergenerational relations. Our projects highlight benefits of linguistic and cultural diversity and, when synthesised, have potential to productively shape public education and migration policies.

Workshop 1: Sheffield 29-30 June 2015
Workshop 2: Cape Town 15-16 October 2015
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Language Policies and Practices in Luxembourg (LPPLUX collaborations)

The ways that language policies and practices are bound up with forms of social and spatial mobility, especially in the domain of education, constitutes a key research concern in Luxembourg. Members of the Centre are involved in multiple projects and publications in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Luxembourg to draw on our complementary forms of expertise.

Key publications

Horner, K. In preparation. ‘Multilingualism in globalized Luxembourg: discourses on language, citizenship and endangerment.’ [For the final conference and edited volume arising from the FNR-SNF funded project on Educating the Future Citizens (EFC-LS)]

Horner, K., I. de Saint-Georges and J-J. Weber (eds). 2014. Multilingualism and Mobility in Europe: Policies and Practices. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang (Sprache, Mehrsprachigkeit und sozialer Wandel). [This is an output of the FNR funded RESCOM Exploratory Workshop on Multilingualism and Mobility.]

Weber, J-J. and K. Horner. 2012. Introducing Multilingualism: A Social Approach. Abingdon/New York: Routledge. [This monograph has been reviewed in over a dozen world-leading, international journals.]

See also: Multilingualism and Mobility Network

Language Contact and Conflict in BENELUX Countries (LCCBNL collaborations)

For centuries, the BENELUX countries have been at the crossroads of Germanic and Romance cultures and languages, where various cities have become metaphorical epicentres of language contact. Whether in peaceful coexistence or at the heart of heated conflicts, these Romano-Germanic encounters have made their mark on the sociolinguistic trajectories of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands and left a fascinating paper trail for (historical) sociolinguists to investigate. Members of the Centre comprise part of a group of international experts working on Romano-Germanic encounters in the BENELUX countries, with a particular focus on language contact and language conflict.

Key publications

Rutten, G. and K. Horner (eds). Forthcoming, 2016. Metalinguistic Perspectives on Germanic Languages: European Case Studies from Past to Present. Oxford: Peter Lang (Historical Sociolinguistics).

Horner, K. and J-J. Weber. 2015. 'Multilingual education and the politics of language in Luxembourg.' In: Peersman, C., R. Vosters and G. Rutten (eds). Contact and Conflict along Language Borders: Romance-Germanic Encounters in the Low Countries. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter (Language and Social Processes).

Horner, K. and M. Wagner. 2012. `Remembering World War II and legitimating Luxembourgish as the national language: consensus or conflict?´ In: Langer, N., S. Davies and W. Vandenbussche (eds). Language and History – Linguistics and Historiography. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang (Studies in Historical Linguistics). 447-464.

See also: Historical Sociolinguistics Network

Luxembourg American Cultural Heritage in the United States (LUXAM project)


The rapid movement of people and information on a global scale has contributed to the renegotiation of ethnicity and group membership, especially as new networks have been formed across large geographical distances. With a focus on Belgium, Wisconsin (US), this project draws on approaches in sociolinguistics, cultural geography and heritage studies and provides an analysis of Luxembourgish linguistic and cultural heritage displays. On a broader scale, the project explores how localised practices are being renegotiated in the context of augmented transatlantic cooperation.

Key publications

Horner, K. 2012. `Luxembourg American cultural heritage.´ In: Péporté, Pit and Sonja Kmec (eds). Lieux de Mémoires II. Luxembourg: Editions St. Paul. 125-130. [This volume is an output of the FNR funded IDENT2 project].

Horner, K. 2011. Language, place and heritage: reflexive cultural Luxembourgishness in Wisconsin. In: Horner, K. (ed.). Germanic Languages and Migration in North America: Special issue of Journal of Germanic Linguistics 23/4: 375-400. [This publication is an output of the WUN funded network on Germanic Languages and Cultures in Global Perspective.]

Horner, K. (ed.). 2011. Germanic Languages and Migration in North America: Special issue of Journal of Germanic Linguistics 23/4: 313-412. [This publication is an output of the WUN funded network on Germanic Languages and Cultures in Global Perspective.]

See also: Luxembourg American Cultural Center