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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

Plantijn’s Biblia Polyglotta and Belgium from the perspective of multilingual typography

When Fri 14 Sep 1120
Where Arenberg Theater
Who Roman Wilhelm
Belgium unifies Flemish, French, and German speakers. While these languages are assigned to distinct regions (Flanders, Wallonia, and a German-speaking community), the capital of Brussels is governed multilingually. Brussels also hosts leading European Union institutions, making Belgium a place of true importance for multilingual policy studies. During my ongoing research of history, practice, and theory of multilingual typographic media, I noticed that the methodology of putting different languages and scripts into a mutual context can be studied from a variety of Belgian typography samples – from historic printed matter such as Plantijn’s famous polyglot Bible of 1573 to modern-day signage systems or legal documents. Detailed analysis aims at revealing the motivations leading to the complex task of multilingual media production, the methodology used to achieve it, and, especially, the “togetherness” of different languages, scripts, or writing systems. What significance does this togetherness transport on the backdrop of changing political contexts? Belgium is a crucial place on the quest for the meaning of multilingual media in the EU: in a time of growing concern with Euro-skepticism and protectionism, do multilingual media express European unity or division after all? Can they provide transparency to put opinion-making into a European perspective?

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