At present, the public and political discourse on multilingualism in Austria mainly focuses the so-called “new”, allochthonous linguistic minorities and their languages. It negotiates their legitimacy and defines the main scope of language politics and policy in Austria by discussing the languages of migrants and their descendants solely in relation to their knowledge of German. The latter is commonly framed insufficient for individual educational and/or professional success, thereby hindering integration into Austrian society. Multilingualism and knowledge of other languages than German (besides the foreign languages taught in the Austrian school system) is not valued in its own right.
This focus is also reflected in the demographical data on language knowledge collected, e.g., by the Statistik Austria. In addition, the demographic group of migrants tends to be difficult to reach in social surveys. Therefore, little is known about language competencies, usage and attitudes of members of the “new” linguistic minorities in Austria in general and Vienna in special.
The project “Wien – anders und mehr.sprachig” (‘Vienna – different and multilingual’) aims at closing this gap by conducting a sociolinguistic online survey with adults living in Vienna. It will focus population groups that are not entitled to vote in elections for the National Assembly, but not exclude those who are, i.e., persons with Austrian citizenship. The project’s main goal is to make mundane multilingualism in Vienna visible. For and in doing so, the project additionally explores various acquisition strategies for sociolinguistic surveys amongst multilingual and minoritized groups.
The project is funded by the City of Vienna (MA 7).