Stellenbosch University
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Public Lecture on multilingualism in context of internationalisation in higher education
Start: 06/11/2023, 14:00
End: 06/11/2023, 15:30
Contact:Lorraine van As -
Location: Room 3008, GG Collie Building, (corner of Crozier & Ryneveld streets), Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

​Boosting multilingualism in Spain: 

The trilingual educational system in the Basque Country under scrutiny

David Lasagabaster

University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

Date: 6 November 2023

Time: 14:00-15:30

Venue: 3008, GG Cillie Building, Stellenbosch University

RSVP: by 1 November

European institutions are staunchly committed to the promotion of language learning and the protection of linguistic and cultural diversity as one of Europe's main inherent features and as a treasure to be cherished. As far as multilingualism is concerned, Spain is a very interesting case in point, because of the 20 million speakers of lesser-used languages in the European Union, 50% are found in this State. In the Spanish bilingual regions the education system must guarantee that Spanish and the co-official language (be it Basque, Catalan or Galician) are taught at school and university. As a result of this language policy, minority languages are taught alongside Spanish, but English is also included in the linguistic equation because there is broad social agreement about the dire need to increase students' proficiency in the currently hegemonic foreign language. 

In this talk I will analyse the evolution of the Basque educational system, the benefits that the spread of multilingualism yields, and how it affects the stakeholders' language attitudes. Attention will also be paid to the challenges that the implementation of English-medium instruction programmes poses in a bilingual context such as the Basque Country, as the overwhelming predominance of English is seen as a risk to the role of the local languages. With these qualms in mind, in this presentation I will claim that language ecology needs to be fostered, in other words, there is dire necessity to facilitate the coexistence of the different languages in contact. 

Professor (dr )David Lasagabaster

David Lasagabaster is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). He is also an Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University.  His research revolves around EMI (English-Medium Instruction), CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), attitudes and motivation, second/third language acquisition, and multilingualism. He has published widely in international journals (Applied Linguistics, Language Teaching, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, The Modern Language Journal, Studies in Higher Education, Language Teaching Research, Language and Education, TESOL Quarterly, International Review of Applied Linguistics (IRAL), Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, System, etc.), books and edited books. He was included in the 2022 Stanford list of the world's top-2% most-cited linguists.

He has been a visiting scholar at several universities, such as the Centre for Immersion and Multilingualism (University of Vaasa, Finland), the OISE (University of Toronto, Canada), the University of Nevada, Reno (USA), the School of Languages and Linguistics (the University of Melbourne, Australia), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Utah State University (USA), Graduate Center, the Central University of New York (USA), and University of Oxford (UK). He was appointed as “Extraordinary Professor" in the Department of Curriculum Studies at the Faculty of Education (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) for the period 1 July 2023 – 31 July 2026. This appointment is aimed at giving recognition to individuals for their proven specialised expertise in their profession and field of study. He is a member of the editorial board of Language Teaching, Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Language Awareness, Porta Linguarum, and Rivista di Psicolinguistica Applicata/Journal of Applied Psycholinguistics. He also serves on the international advisory board of the Routledge Studies in English-Medium Instruction (EMI), a book series that brings together research demonstrating the impact of work from applied and educational linguistics on the phenomenon of EMI. He was responsible (2005-2008) for the “Multilingualism Programme" (EMI and French-medium instruction) of the University of the Basque Country. He was a member of the executive committee of the international Association for Language Awareness from 2008 to 2016. He is currently board member of the ICLHE Spain regional group.

He lectures on multilingualism, language attitudes and motivation at the MA programme Language Acquisition in Multilingual Settings ( with access to doctoral studies (PhD), in which he supervises master's and PhD theses. He is the director of the Language Acquisition in Multilingual Settings PhD programme, a doctoral programme accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Education (Distinction of Excellence). He is the Principal Investigator (PI) of a project on EMI funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, and IP partner of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (Horizon 2020) funded by the European Commission. He has delivered invited and plenary talks in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, several countries in Europe, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Taiwan and the USA. He has acted as reviewer for several funding institutions and for more than 30 national and international journals. He was Vice-Dean for International Relations (from 2001 to 2005) and Vice-Rector for International Relations (from 2005 to 2009) at the UPV/EHU.