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Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen. Plurilingualism and the Intercultural dialogue in the EU. Marleen Coutuer Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen Jerusalem, 1 May 2007. Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen.
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Marleen Coutuer Karel de Grote-HogeschoolAntwerpenJerusalem, 1 May 2007
The Union must become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion (European Council, Lisbon, March 2000).
"Education and Training 2010" integrates all actions in the fields of education and training at European level, including vocational education and training (the "Copenhagen process"). As well, the Bologna process, initiated in 1999 is crucial in the development of the European Higher Education Area. Both contribute actively to the achievement of the Lisbon objectives and are therefore closely linked to the "Education and Training 2010" work programme.
27 EU Members - 23 official languages
български (Bălgarski) - BG - Bulgarian
Čeština - CS - Czech
Dansk - DA - Danish
Deutsch - DE - German
Eesti - ET - Estonian
Elinika - EL - Greek
English - EN
Español - ES – Spanish
Français – FR – French
Gaeilge - GA – Irish
Italiano - IT - Italian
Latviesu valoda - LV - Latvian
Lietuviu kalba - LT - Lithuanian
Magyar - HU - Hungarian
Malti - MT - Maltese
Nederlands - NL - Dutch
Polski - PL - Polish
Português - PT - Portuguese
Română - RO - Romanian
Slovenčina - SK - Slovak
Slovenščina - SL - Slovene
Suomi - FI - Finnish
Svenska - SV - Swedish
The Day has a wide variety of aims following on from those of the European Year of Languages, in particular:
Alerting the public to the importance of language learning and diversifying the range of languages learnt in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
Promoting the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe, which must be preserved and fostered;
Encouraging lifelong language learning
refers to the presence in a geographical area, large or small, of more than one \'variety of language\' i.e. the mode of speaking of a social group whether it is formally recognised as a language or not; in such an area individuals may be monolingual, speaking only their own variety.
refers to the repertoire of varieties of language which many individuals use, and is therefore the opposite of monolingualism; it includes the language variety referred to as \'mother tongue\' or \'first language\' and any number of other languages or varieties. Thus in some multilingual areas some individuals are monolingual and some are plurilingual.
Today the European Union is home to 450 million people from diverse ethnic,cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The linguistic patterns of European countries are complex - shaped by history, geographical factors and the mobility of people. At present, the European Union recognises 23 official languages and about 60 other indigenous and non-indigenous languages are spoken over the geographical area.
The Council of Europe’s activities to promote linguistic diversity and language learning in the field of education are carried out within the framework of the European Cultural Convention, (1954) ratified by 48 states.
The Language Policy Division (Strasbourg) implements intergovernmental medium-term programmes with a special emphasis on policy development. The Division’s programmes are complemented by those of the European Centre for Modern Languages (Graz, Austria).
PLURILINGUALISM: all are entitled to develop a degree of communicative ability in a number of languages over their lifetime in accordance with their needs.
LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY: Europe is multilingual and all its languages are equally valuable modes of communication and expressions of identity; the right to use and to learn one’s language(s) is protected in Council of Europe Conventions
MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING: the opportunity to learn other languages is an essential condition for intercultural communication and acceptance of cultural differences
DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP: participation in democratic and social processes in multilingual societies is facilitated by the plurilingual competence of individuals
SOCIAL COHESION: equality of opportunity for personal development, education, employment, mobility, access to information and cultural enrichment depends on access to language learning throughout life
to help national and international providers of
examinations to relate their certificates and
diplomas to the CEFR. Illustrative material is
being developed for a number of languages.
The ELP is a personal document in which language
learners can record and reflect on their language
learning and cultural experiences. ELPs vary
according to countries and educational contexts.
However they all share common criteria and are all
examined by a European Validation Committee
which accords an accreditation number.
The Reference Level Descriptions describe in
detail the linguistic competences for
individual languages corresponding to the six
levels of the CEF. They are particularly
helpful in planning language programmes and
Aimed at policy deciders, the Guide describes
how language education policies can promote
a global and coherent approach to
plurilingual education. The Guide is
accompanied by a series of thematic studies.
At the request of national or regional
authorities, the Council of Europe provides
expert assistance with the development of a
Profile – a process of analysis and reflection
leading to proposals to support a global and
coherent approach to language learning and
teaching, and involving all languages in education.
the key objective of extending the benefits of
language learning to all citizens as a
the need to improve the quality of language
teaching at all levels;
the need to build in Europe an environment
which is really favourable to languages.
European Commission: Directorate Education and Culture
A new generation of EU programmes for education and training, youth, culture and citizenship in 2007-2013
For Comenius:To involve at least three million pupils in joint educational activities
For Erasmus:To have supported an overall total of three million individual participants in student mobility
For Leonardo da Vinci:To increase placements in enterprises to 80,000 per year
For GrundtvigTo support the mobility of 7,000 individuals involved in adult education per year
The Language Policy Division in Strasbourg is launching a new activity with a view to promoting social cohesion in the follow-up to the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government (Warsaw, May 2005). It is concerned with the development of effective skills in the language(s) of instruction which are essential for successful learning across the whole curriculum. This project deals with the language(s) of instruction in school which is most often the national or official language(s) and also the mother tongue of the majority of students; in a number of contexts this language is of course their second language where they have a different mother tongue. Within the wider concept of plurilingualism and respect for linguistic diversity, the project will also address the needs of these learners with regard to competence in the national/official language.
The Division carries out reviews of education policy for minorities in a
number of member states and its
expert assistance is regularly
An increasing number of countries now require adult migrants to demonstrate proficiency in the language of the host country before granting residence or work permits or citizenship. The level of proficiency required is usually based on the CEFR and a language test may be obligatory. The approach to testing varies and there is a considerable difference in the levels of proficiency required – ranging from A1 to B1 or even B2 (oral) of the CEFR.
The Language Policy Division, in partnership with appropriate Council of Europe sectors and INGOs with participatory status is developing policy guidelines for language education and certification where this is required. The aim is to support all directly concerned in developing a needs-based approach and in following best professional practice so as to ensure transparency and fairness, in particular concerning ‘high stake’ situations concerning language requirements for citizenship, work or long term residency purposes.
Crystal begins by looking at the scale of the threat to minority languages. There are debates over the definition of "language" and estimates of the number of languages vary, but a figure somewhere around 6000 is plausible. Perhaps more important is the distribution of speakers, with 4% of languages accounting for 96% of people and 25% having fewer than 1000 speakers. There are different ways of classifying "danger levels", but there is no doubt that a large number of languages face extinction in the immediate future, while in the longer-term even quite widely spoken languages may be in danger.
Why should we care about language death? Crystal presents five arguments: from the general value of diversity, from the value of languages as expressions of identity, as repositories of history, as part of the sum of human knowledge, and as interesting subjects in their own right. None of these are likely to convince either aggressive monolingualists or the apathetic, but Crystal includes some thought-provoking details and quotes.
How do languages die? Obviously a language dies if all of its speakers die as the result of genocide or natural disasters, or are scattered in such a way as to break up the language community. More commonly languages die through cultural change and language replacement, by assimilation to a "dominant" culture and language. This process is broad and complex, but one major factor is negative attitudes to a language, both in government policy and local communities.
What can be done about this? Crystal looks first at general needs: gathering information, raising awareness (both in local communities and in the international community), and fostering positive community attitudes (sometimes people don\'t want to save their own language). Any approach must promote the authenticity of the whole community (accepting change and recognising all dialects) and consider language as part of broader culture.
Crystal suggests six key themes in language revitalization: increasing the prestige, wealth, and power of language speakers; giving the language a strong presence in the education system; giving the language a written form and encouraging literacy; and access to electronic technology (the latter being more of a "possibility" than a reality in most cases). He also argues for a stronger emphasis on descriptive linguistics and fieldwork, and stresses the need to build a rounded "revitalization team", involving a broad range of community leaders, teachers, and other specialists as well as linguists.
David Crystal (professor of linguistics)
Cambridge University Press 2000
Over the years, different people have proposed that English language teaching (ELT) carries with it imperialistic influences. At times this has been in relation to the imposition of an outside language on native languages, resulting in their allocation to a secondary status along with the cultures they represent. At other times, the teaching of English was seen as a tool to propagate the economic, cultural or religious values of dominant world powers. Counter to this have been other studies, research and theories which propose either that such imperialism was or is not at the heart of ELT, or that the relationship between language, politics and economics has evolved into something different than it once was. Yet others have held that the English language classroom serves as the ideal arena in which such possibilities can be examined by students and teacher alike.
TESL-EJ Forum = teachers of English as a second language