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44th ILEI Conference, Copenhagen, July 17-23, 2011

Symposium, July 22-23, 2011:

Languages of scientific communication and education

Salutmesagho de UEA
Welcome message of UEA

This symposium is being organised by ILEI (International League of Esperanto-Speaking Teachers) in conjunction with UEA’s Center for Research and Documentation on World Language Problems and the University of Copenhagen, specifically the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication ( of the Faculty of Humanities (, which is providing the facilities for the conference and symposium.

The symposium will deal primarily with the scholarly side of the broader conference theme:  
Language policy and linguistic rights in education and scientific communication

Its focus will be on the one hand the conflict between the use of English as a lingua franca for scholarly endeavors, and on the other the desirability of education in national languages with the goal of producing a citizenry trained in scientific research methods. The motivation for the symposium topic and background for the symposium discussions is drawn from Humphrey Tonkin’s article “Language and the ingenuity gap in science”, written for the journal Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, along with the article by Robert Phillipson “The empire of scientific English”, in which he responds to Tonkin in the same issue of the journal. This is how Tonkin himself describes the problem:

“One of the issues I identified in my article is the fact that in many countries science is studied and practiced essentially in English, but it is taught in high schools and sometimes in universities in the local or regional language. This deep conflict between the international language of scientific study on the one hand, contrasted with the desirability of teaching science in native languages (and educating citizens who are capable of understanding scientific questions and formulating policy, for instance in the area of global warming) creates a multiplicity of problems. How are these to be dealt with? And how do we approach the general problem that in many countries national languages turn inward, while the world of knowledge extends outward? And what is the role of Esperanto, and of technology, given the conflictive nature of these goals?”

Department of Media, Cognition and Communication
Faculty of Humanities
University of Copenhagen
Njalsgade 118
DK – 2300 Copenhagen S

Keynote presentations
The symposium begins Friday morning (July 22, the day before the closing of the conference), with three half-hour keynotes, each followed by a further half hour of discussion.

  1. Frans Gregersen: Nordic policies for languages of scientific communication: the challenges of implementation in Denmark
  2. Humphrey Tonkin: Language Inequality in Science
  3. Robert Phillipson: Maintaining diversity in scholarly languages

These presentations will be followed by additional papers given by invited speakers and proposals accepted from symposium participants. The symposium will conclude on Saturday morning, July 23, 2011, with a general discussion and approval of conclusions. More details will be given in the Symposium program.

To register for the symposium please use the online conference registration form, or send a message to with your full name and affiliation. The fee for the symposium only is 30 euros, which may be payed at the registration desk before the symposium starts.