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Linguistics alumna Anne-Mieke Thieme wint EFNIL-scriptieprijs

Good news for Linguistics alumna Anne-Mieke Thieme, who has won the thesis prize awarded by the European Federation of National Institutions for Language (EFNIL). ‘I emailed my thesis supervisor right away.’

It was only the second time that EFNIL awarded the prize for master's theses. Theses were submitted from ten different countries in total. Anne-Mieke stood out with her research on multilingualism in the Municipality of The Hague. ‘The Hague, like many other large cities, is very multilingual,’ she explains. ‘I was curious to see how the municipality deals with this linguistic diversity.’ 

The approach appeared to differ between target groups. ‘The multilingualism of expats, students and tourists was treated more favourably than that of other multilingual residents, for instance, those with Moroccan, Eastern European or Turkish backgrounds. This difference in approach was not necessarily explained by an individual’s length of stay in the Netherlands either. For example, the translation policy stated that the municipality decided not to translate letters for Polish migrant workers in their entirety.’

A fantastic project

Although Anne-Mieke had great results to show in the end, she found it difficult to get started on her thesis. ‘I initially found choosing a research topic rather challenging. I finally arrived at my subject because my thesis supervisor Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade once gave a lecture on her Languages project in The Hague. I thought it was a fantastic project about multilingualism in The Hague and I immediately knew what I wanted to do my research on. 

When I heard that I had won the prize, I emailed Ingrid straight away, given that I owed a lot to her wonderful guidance. I think that, partly due to her efforts, something has really been set in motion in The Hague in terms of multilingualism, which is great news.’

Would you like to know more?

Read the thesis Multilingual The Hague: Municipal language policy, politics, and practice by Anne-Mieke Thieme in Leiden University Student Repository (open access). 

The EFNIL Master's Thesis Award is an annual competition to decide the best master's theses in Europe in the field of language use, language policy and multilingualism. The three best theses are awarded a cash prize of 1500 euros.

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