Immigrant minority languages and multilingual education in Europe: a literature review

Elizabeth Pérez, Gorka Roman, María Orcasitas-Vicandi.
International Journal of Multilingualism

Immigrant minority (IM) languages have a significant presence in certain European regions. Nonetheless, these languages are not usually included in the school curriculum. This paper aims to analyse the studies published between 2010 and 2020 considering IM languages in multilingual European education contexts. The method included a search of academic papers published in the databases ERIC, Web of Science and Scopus, which yielded 42 studies. The studies were analysed by considering (1) the demographic characteristics of the countries where the studies were conducted, (2) the sociolinguistic or psycholinguistic focus of the papers in relation to the European country, and (3) the characteristics of the bi-multilingual education programme including IM languages. The results indicate that (1) the demographic characteristics of the country are not strictly related to the number of studies published, (2) most studies have a sociolinguistic approach even though many studies analyse both sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic factors, and (3) only seven multilingual education programmes including IM languages were described in these papers. We conclude that there is a lack of research focusing on IM languages in educational settings and discuss how addressing these gaps could create opportunities for building equitable multilingual communities in Europe.