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Fédération Internationale des Langues et Littératures Modernes
International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures
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Save Languages in Groningen

Last year the University of Groningen decided to merge most of its Modern Language Programmes into a single programme: European Languages and Cultures, featuring the study of 10 European languages from a European perspective. But this new programme was barely in its third month when the University announced plans to reduce the number of languages from 10 to 6. As of September 2013, students will not longer have the possibility to choose Danish, Norwegian, Finnish or Hungarian.

However, the value of these languages extends well beyond the university walls. Cultural exchanges between countries large and small are of great economic importance. Accordingly, the study of languages and cultures at academic level is vital –language students go on to work as writers, communicators, translators, interpreters, editors etc. If the University of Groningen’s plans to discontinue four modern language programmes take effect, unique expertise will be drained from the country, with devastating effects in the long term. With this petition, we urge the University of Groningen to reconsider these plans, and to continue to offer Danish, Finnish, Hungarian and Norwegian as part of the European Languages and Cultures programme. If you want to support our cause, please sign this petition and spread the word!

On behalf of staff, students and alumni of the departments of Scandinavian and Finno-Ugric languages at the University of Groningen

Prof. Muriel Norde
(Chair of Scandinavian Languages and Cultures)

Prof. Cornelius Hasselblatt
(Chair of Finno-Ugric Languages and Cultures)

To sign the petition: www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-languages-in-groningen.html
For more information: savelanguagesingroningen.blogspot.nl/p/why-this-website.html

"If the University of Groningen were to cut studies in these four languages, this would result in a significant loss of mutual understanding between The Netherlands and other countries. The Netherlands have traditionally been admired as a very open-minded and cosmopolitan country, and as the country where some the world's best linguistic and literary research is published. The University of Groningen itself is widely respected for its language programmes, which have provided young Dutch students with excellent opportunities for empathizing with "otherness". It would be very sad indeed if they were to be deprived of some of the most interesting options. And if I may offer Groningen my advice as President of UNESCO's International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures (the FILLM), it is that "small" countries like The Netherlands and "small" countries like Denmark, Norway, Finland and Hungary should support each other in these matters. "Big" countries like the USA and China cannot be relied on to preserve a high standard of teaching and research in "small" languages."

Roger D. Sell
President of the FILLM, 2011 – 2014.

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