As the world has become more global in unprecedented ways, the ability to communicate in multiple languages has become a prized characteristic. Multilingualism has, however, been the majority experience for most of human history. The second ever Small-Scale Multilingualism (SSML2) conference aims to recentre the notion of multilingualism as a natural and typical state of human societies and aims to shift multilingualism into the centre of the academic field of linguistics. We want to think more expansively about what constitutes SSML, and focus on the term “small-scale” as a means to “pay attention to detail”, and “take a look at individuals and localised communities”. Multilingualism is simultaneously a description of an environment and individuals who make up the tapestry of many modes of communicating, including spoken and signed languages.
Our conference shows boldness in two ways. First, it aims to redefine SSML as mentioned above, and second, it will pilot an online format that aims at maximum inclusivity and accessibility. This second point has become even more imperative due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Finnish University Partnership for International Development and The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. The second SSML conference will be hosted virtually by the University of Helsinki where multilingualism is highly topical as a research topic, but also as social reality.