Andrea Rotenberg

Multilingualism and Beyond in the European Context

On-site in Tartu, 28 July - 11 August 2024

Almost all language practices are multilingual in their nature since they include different languages, language varieties, genres, styles, so-called dialects, etc. In a highly globalised era characterised by emigration and the movement of people with different linguistic backgrounds, questions related to multilingualism are crucial for single individuals immigrants who seek new homes and asylum in Europe, as well as for these hosting countries. A relevant example is the wave of Ukrainian immigration in Europe and, in particular, Estonia. Despite sharing a common background, Ukrainians are characterised by extremely variegated language repertoires and linguistic skills that they accommodate in the hosting countries. When coming to Estonia, Ukrainians might use different ways of communication. They can use English if they have enough proficiency in the language. They can also communicate in Russian as both Estonians and Ukrainians have considerable L2 experience from the Soviet time. However,  the varieties of Russian as spoken in Ukraine differ from those of Russia, Estonia, etc., and some Ukrainians speak a version of Surzhik, a cover name for a continuum of in-between varieties. At the same time in Estonia, only 30% of the population constitutes a Russian-speaking minority, and the young generation of Estonians mostly have only passive knowledge of Russian. In this case, it is also possible to employ Ukrainian while communicating with Estonians and reach an understanding via passive knowledge of Russian (e.g., mediated receptive multilingualism) as usually, Estonians are sympathetic towards Ukraine and this may be a factor facilitating communication. Interlocutors can negotiate the meaning, combine codeswitching with other language modes, etc., to make communication happen. 

This course is particularly focused on the complexity of multilingualism in Estonia and the European context (based on a few examples). In particular, we aim to pay attention to how individuals use resources for their language repertoire to accommodate communication in the current context of emigration.

We will introduce the concepts of multilingualism, different types of multilingualism and language acquisition theories, multilingual people as agents of change, and various contact-induced language change phenomena. This course aims to equip students with the necessary theoretical and methodological knowledge for designing and developing experimental studies in the field of multilingualism. 

We discuss how multilingualism can be studied in concrete communicative situations and particular research guidelines. We explore multilingualism through practical and reflexive tasks and give practical knowledge of how to conduct experiments and  approach multilingual practices in different environments (everyday communication, the internet, social media, linguistic landscape, schools, etc.). 

Focus area: Multilingualism, Sociolinguistics Coordinating unit at UT

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Study Field: Estonian and General Linguistics Course Leader Alessandra Dezi and Anna Branets, Ph.D. Students
Format Summer Course Location Tartu, Estonia
Course dates: 28 July - 11 August 2024 Apply by: 30 April 2024
ECTS: 3 Fee: 650 EUR
Study BA/MA Language English


  • Prof. Anna Verschik, Tallinn University 
  • Alessandra Dezi, Ph.D. Student of the University of Tartu
  • Anna Branets, Ph.D. Student of the University of Tartu


UniTartu Summer School DAAD Scholarship
UniTartu Summer School DAAD Scholarship (autor: erakogu)

In collaboration with DAAD, the University of Tartu offers 5 scholarships for German students for the course Multilingualism and Beyond in the European Context.

More information and the application form are on the DAAD scholarship page


Two weeks prior to the start of the programme an information file will be sent to all participants. This file contains the daily schedule and relevant contact information of the programme managers.

Students are responsible for their travel, accommodation and travel insurance (visa arrangements if needed) from their home country to Tartu and back to their home country. It is recommended to visit the Tartu Welcome Centre website and arrival and housing section to find accommodation opportunities.


unitartu summerschool

Flashback to UniTartu Summer School 2023


"I'm Janina, a final-year master’s student diving deep into General Linguistics at Hamburg, Germany! With a passion for sociolinguistics, I'm always on the lookout for intriguing avenues to explore. Remembering my enchanting experience in Tartu back in April 2022 during winter school, I couldn't resist peeking at the University of Tartu's website for summer schools. If you seek a summer activity that is both enlightening and occasionally challenging, highly motivating, and enjoyable, the UniTartu Summer School is made for you!"

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