Multilingual practices from antiquity to the present day

The purpose of the round-table is to bring together sociolinguists, classicists and historians who study multilingualism in antiquity and medieval times (Day 1) and in imperial, colonial and postcolonial times (Day 2) and to engage in a dialog about continuities and discontinuities in multilingual practices shaped by conquests, migrations and globalizations.

A picture of the Rosetta stone next to a picture of a multilingual sign for a councelling center for migrant women. Photo: Colourbox.

Photo: Colourbox

Preliminary program:

Day 1 Multilingual practices in the ancient and medieval world


Rachel Mairs (University of Reading, UK) (external link): Multilingual administrations in the Hellenistic world

Anastasia Maravela (University of Oslo, Norway): Contexts of multilingualism in Egypt from the Hellenistic to the early Arabic period

Alex Mullen (University of Nottingham, UK) (external link): Language shift in the multilingual Roman west

Yasmine Beale-Rivaya (Texas State University, USA) (external link): Shuffling between languages in medieval Iberia: The Mozarabs as an exemplary case study

Jonathan Rubin (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) (external link): Contact between languages in the Kingdom of Jerusalem

Laura Wright (University of Cambridge, UK) (external link): On medieval mixed-language business writing in Britain: Evidence from the archive of London Bridge

Elise Kleivane (University of Oslo, Norway): Multilingualism in medieval Scandinavia      

Discussant: James Clackson (University of Cambridge, UK) (external link)


Day 2 Multilingual empires, colonies and nation-states


Aneta Pavlenko (MultiLing/University of Oslo, Norway): The hosts who learned immigrants’ tongues: Multilingualism in tsarist and imperial Russia

Roland Willemyns (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) (external link): Why colonial Dutch failed to become a global lingua franca               

Pieter Judson (European University Institute, Florence, Italy) (external link): TBA

Jan Fellerer (University of Oxford, UK) (external link): Language policies and practices in the Habsburg Empire

Benjamin Fortna (University of Arizona, USA) (external link): Multilingualism in the Ottoman Empire

Li Wei (University College London, UK) (external link): Han-Manchu Language Contact and Shift during the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) China and beyond

Pia Lane (MultiLing/University of Oslo, Norway): Paradoxes of language revitalisation

Alexandre Duchêne (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) (external link): Late capitalist multilingualism

Discussant: Susan Gal (University of Chicago, USA) (external link)


The preliminary program and abstracts and bios can be found here

A more detailed program will be available soon.


The seminar is open and free of charge. Due to limited space, all attendees must sign up through this form. Coffee and tea will be served.



Aneta Pavlenko and Pia Lane
Published Nov. 22, 2018 10:14 AM - Last modified Feb. 15, 2019 9:44 AM