AThEME is a 5-year collaborative research project studying multilingualism in Europe. Researchers from 17 partner institutions across 8 European countries will:

  1. Investigate cognitive, linguistic and sociological issues in multilingual Europe;
  2. Assess existing public policies and practices within the areas of education and health and
  3. To contribute to evidence-based policy making. The project aims to raise awareness of multilingualism among policy makers, health professionals, academics and educators.

The project is made up of four main research areas:

Regional languages
There are over 60 regional (minority) languages across the EU. While they are a key element of multilingualism, current research doesn’t necessarily consider multilingualism involving these languages. The project aims to increase understanding and maintenance of regional languages.

Heritage languages
The number of bilinguals based on a heritage language (the language a family brings when they move from one country to another) is on the rise due to a globalised Europe. There is surprisingly little research into bi-/multilingualism based on heritage languages. This research area is geared towards understanding how to help speaker maintain their heritage language while reaching proficient bi-/multilingualism.

Communicative Impairment
AThEME researchers intend to improve current knowledge and understanding of the way in which different forms of multilingualism affect and interact with communicative disorders.

Being multilingual
This research area explores the cognitive aspects of what it means to be multilingual. Understanding how and why people succeed or fail in learning multiple languages is critical.

The results of AThEME will be valuable for many people, including second language learners, elderly citizens, minority language speakers and immigrants. The findings will also be directly relevant to people who work in healthcare, in childcare, in education, and in local governments across Europe.