Manchester language documentation technology heads to Russia

Students and citizens in Saint Petersburg will now have access to a Russian version of LinguaSnapp – The University of Manchester’s mobile app for documenting language landscapes.

The app allows users to collect and upload images of signs in different languages to a digital archive that is accessible to the public.

It was developed by the Multilingual Manchester research unit and the University’s Research IT in 2016, and has since been used by researchers to map the use of different languages in Manchester and to inform planning and provisions in the commercial and public sectors.

Schools use the LinguaSnapp archive to raise pupils’ awareness of local communities, and of the city’s language and cultural diversity. Bespoke versions of the app have also been released for Jerusalem and Melbourne.

The Saint Petersburg edition has been produced with the Higher School for Economics, and is being launched at an international conference on the study of linguistic landscapes in multilingual cities.

You can read more about the Saint Petersburg edition of LinguaSnapp here.

Call for expressions of interest

The Multilingual Communities strand of the AHRC-OWRI consortium ‘Cross-language Dynamics: Re-shaping community’ is offering two grants at a value of up to £11,500 each (at 80%, in line with AHRC funding rules) for projects that are devoted to university engagement around support for the maintenance and promotion of heritage or community languages in the UK. The activities should broadly relate to the range of interests in research, outreach and public engagement as represented by the Multilingual Manchester research unit ( Of particular interest is work with community-based language initiatives (supplementary or complementary schools). The grants can be used to cover the cost of events, research assistants, development of materials for public engagement, including associated consumables (but not including equipment costs). The institution receiving the award is expected to cover 20% of the total activity cost, either through material contribution or through dedicated staff time. Project are expected to commence during 2018 or early 2019 and must end by late 2020, preferably earlier.

Expressions of interest, including a brief outline of the aims and methods, a timeline, and an informal overview of planned costs (1-2 pages), should be sent by 30 April 2018 to Professor Yaron Matras (, academic lead on Multilingual Manchester and the consortium’s Multilingual Communities research strand. These will be assessed by the consortium’s Steering Committee, which will then invite two or more individuals/teams to send in full proposals for consideration. Joint expressions of interest from staff based at more than one institution are also welcome.

Background information on ‘Cross-language Dynamics: Re-shaping community’ can be found here:

German parliamentarian: Treat other languages with respect, not fear

Member of the German Bundestag Johann Saathoff (SPD, Norden in East Frisia) held a speech at the German parliament on 2 March denouncing a motion by the right-wing Alternative for Germany party to amend the constitution to make German the only national language. Saathoff, who is a native speaker of the regional minority language Plattütsch or Low German, code-switched between his two languages during his speech, making parliamentary history in Germany. Read the speech in the original here, or read our English translation.


Census 2021: An opportunity to acknowledge multilingualism

A group of linguists have asked the UK Statistics Authority to consider re-drafting the question on languages other than Welsh and Gaelic ahead of the next national census planned for 2021. They say that the question ‘What is your main language?’, which was used in the 2011 census, fails to capture the full picture of the country’s language diversity and many individuals’ use of multiple languages.

Click here to read more.