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Anne-Mieke Thieme

Multilingual The Hague: Municipal language policy, politics, and practice

With her thesis entitled Multilingual The Hague: Municipal language policy, politics, and practice Anne-Mieke Thieme, a research master in Linguistics at the University of Leiden, conducted an ambitious sociolinguistics study, which can be called both exceptional and impressive because of its contribution to scholarly knowledge and applicability in the area of language policy development.

Anne-Mieke Thieme is the first scholar to study how and to what extent multilingualism features in the municipal language policy and politics of the third largest city in The Netherlands –The Hague. By adopting three different approaches –Corpus Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, Linguistic Landscape Analysis– to internal administrative language, communication with citizens, and the linguistic landscape of municipal signs, she has covered all main goals of municipal language planning: status planning, acquisition planning, and prestige planning.

Her study presents a prime, but understudied example of a multilingual reality and fills a gapin the research into municipal language policy which can have a profound impact on citizens' lives. This applicability and heartfelt concern become crystal clear in the study’s conclusions which may be summarized in the invitation to consider multilingualism as linguistic capital.

This thesis focuses on the central themes of the EFNIL thesis award: language policy on multilingualism, the policy’s aims and effects, its practical manifestations, and the political discourse that surrounds it. The jury was impressed by the originality of the research question, the vast methodological approach and the applicability of the findings and would like to wish the researcher a lot of success in her future career.

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