Linguistic Assertiveness for Minority Language Speakers

Type of project: European  |  Start date: 01/09/2019  |  End date: 31/08/2022

In order to maintain a minority language it is crucial that speakers are able to use it as frequently and freely as possible.
However, in many situations it has been observed that those who speak a minority language adopt self-censoring attitudes when they avoid using their own language and switch to the majority language.
This happens even when their counterpart is perfectly able to understand the minority language and when such language is officially recognized and widely used in the local area.
Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.
It is a learnable skill and mode of communication.
When applied to languages, it refers to training people to express themselves in their own language while feeling calm and self-assured, and it acts to help individuals who may be uncertain if their counterparts are speakers of the same language.
The purpose of the LISTEN project is to train speakers of a minority language (be it historically rooted in a territory or brought recently by effect of migration) to act on their behavior and modify it by adopting strategies of linguistic assertiveness.
The main output of the project will be a format for Linguistic Assertiveness Workshops that can be adapted by and localized to different languages and socio-linguistic micro- and macro-contexts.
The project will explore the cases of four languages (Welsh, Irish, Frisian and Hungarian) and different categories of speakers (educators, civil servants, youth and migrants).
Additional teaching materials that will be provided are: a MOOC on language assertiveness, some webinars, a handbook and audiovisual and textual material that will be released with an open license.
The format will be illustrated and put into operation by conducting two series of workshops that will be held in Wales, Ireland, Friesland and Romania.
Since the workshops will be held in different language communities, they will be able to gather a wide variety of needs, situations and linguistic prejudices.
The LISTEN methodology has the potential to be applicable not only to lesser-used languages but also to more widely used ones, and can be used whenever a situation of friction arises and a person or a group of people feels the need to maintain his/her own language when confronted with unfavourable external factors.
At the societal level, LISTEN provides an invaluable instrument to understand linguistic prejudices and to take concrete actions that can help deal with them so as to contribute to a more tolerant and inclusive society.


Funding programme:
Erasmus+ Programme

Funding body:
European Commission

Grant agreement:


CNR-ILC role:

Project coordinator:
Universitat de Valencia

CNR-ILC Research Unit Chair:
Claudia Soria

Paola Baroni
Fabio Affè