Multilingual Language Learning with Digital Media (Call for abstracts)

Multilingual CALL: Multilingual Language Learning with Digital Media in Primary and Secondary Classrooms

Frankfurt, February 17-18, 2016

Learners of a second or foreign language are not homogeneous with regard to their linguistic backgrounds and their degree of fluency in different languages. Students often have skills in more than one language, including languages previously studied at school, as well as heritage and minority languages. These skills can range from basic conversational skills to fully developed cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). Teachers are expected to diagnose the different needs of all pupils and cater for them in the mainstream classroom. CALL – computer assisted language learning – can potentially contribute to this.

Online interactions that bring together speakers of different languages, for example telecollaboration and virtual tandems, can add depth and complexity to a language learning setting. Who speaks which language to whom and when? Why? Is code-switching permissible? Many decisions regarding language choice are made by teachers and learners alike, but which “language choice designs”, which “language choice strategies” are most beneficial for learners?

Despite these relevant questions, very little research has been conducted on multilingual CALL. Usually, issues of multilingual language practices in CALL are mentioned only in passing, often based on the assumption that they constitute a problem that needs to be addressed. Sometimes, unspoken assumptions about a monolingual ideal in language instruction (cf Gogolin 1994, Butzkamm 1973) permeate CALL designs – but these assumptions are rarely empirically tested or theoretically challenged.

This conference aims to increase the awareness of the existence and functions of multilingual materials and multilingual language use in CALL contexts. Furthermore, it will contribute to a critical assessment on widespread assumptions regarding monolingual/multilingual practices in CALL.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

–  CALL tools and materials using multiple languages, including previously learned school languages, heritage & minority languages


–  Use of CALL with multilingual learners


–  Language choice and code-alternation in CALL


–  Multilingual practices in web2.0-based and telecollaboration-based CALL


–  Multilingual CALL and language awareness


–  Practical experiences with multilingual CALL at school

The focus of contributions may be on the learner, the teacher, or the material. Empirical, conceptual and design-oriented contributions are equally welcome. Conference language is English; bilingual slides are encouraged.

An edited volume with contributions from the conference is being planned.

Butzkamm, W. (1973) Aufgeklärte Einsprachigkeit: Zur Entdogmatisierung der Methode im Fremdsprachenunterricht. Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer.

Gogolin, I. (1994) Der monolinguale Habitus der multilingualen Schule. Münster: Waxmann. Please submit your abstract (max. 500 words) via email to

Deadline for abstract submission: November 16th, 2015
Notification of acceptance/rejection: December 1st, 2015

A limited number of travel grants for doctorate students (100€ for Germany-based, 200€ for international participants) is available. If you wish to apply for one of these, please submit a short letter of motivation with your abstract.

This conference is organized by the IEAS, Goethe University Frankfurt. Organizing committee: Prof. Dr. Daniela Elsner, Dr. Judith Bündgens-Kosten, Malte Schudlich; Conference office: Helena McKenzie

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.