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The chances of transnational understanding in a united Europe: Emotional language binding and acquisition of foreign languages (107)

Principal Investigator:


The European Union has increasingly developed from a political to a social body. If the social integration of a Europe having 23 official languages and a large number of regional languages is to proceed further, the only possible way to accomplish this task would appear to be by enhancing the foreign language skills of the citizens. In the course of the proposed research semester I would like to examine the following questions on the basis of an analysis of two surveys conducted in the 27 countries of the EU, containing numerous questions on foreign language skills and attitudes to language:

  1. What foreign languages are spoken by the citizens of the 27 countries of the European Union?
  2. How is one to explain the differences in foreign language skills between countries and individuals? And above all:
  3. What emotional bonds do citizens have to the relevant languages, and to what extent do these bonds hinder or promote the acquisition or use of these languages?


Gerhards, J. (2011, Im Druck). Der Kult der Minderheitensprachen. Leviathan 39 (2).

Gerhards, J. (2010). Mehrsprachigkeit im vereinten Europa. Transnationales Kapital als Ressource in einer globalisierten Welt. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

Gerhards, J. (2010). Transnationales linguistisches Kapital der Bürger und der Prozess der europäischen Integration. Eigmüller, M.; Mau, S. (Ed.). Gesellschaftstheorie und Europapolitik. Sozialwissenschaftliche Ansätze zur Europaforschung. 213-244. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.