This is the last blog that will be posted on this site as the website will no longer be independently maintained.
Language Rich Europe is a network funded through the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. It was co-ordinated by the British Council which also made a significant financial contribution and elicited the support of sponsors. Perhaps more important than this financial and organisational underpinning was the fact that the British Council, traditionally associated with its global support for British culture and the English language was taking a lead on a project which was unequivocally promoting multilingualism within Europe. This belief is very much at the heart of its promotion of diversity and inclusion worldwide. The Language Rich Europe partnership involved 20 countries and three regions and in addition to the British Council offices it brought together over 30 partners – cultural agencies such as Instituto Camões and the Goethe Institut, universities, and research and information centres. A particular role was played by Tilburg University whose colleagues developed and co-ordinated the Europe-wide research which was published in 19 languages in Language Rich Europe: Trends in Policies and Practices for Multilingualism in Europe.
In March 2013 the Language Rich Europe network of partners presented 10 key recommendations at the European level to the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Commission and made a further 80 recommendations at country and regional level. Language Rich Europe’s legacy will be marked by the extent to which these become embedded in policy and practice.
The British Council will continue to promote networks such as Language Rich Europe which help transform understandings of languages and reflect their richness as a vital contribution to social and economic development globally. A new initiative Language Rich Africa will be looking at ways – at both policy and practice levels – to inspire positive attitudes towards multilingualism as key to a stable and prosperous Africa.
Meanwhile key outputs of the Language Rich Europe will be made available on the British Council websites, and for more information contact Adrian.firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Director, Language Rich Europe
……in a fortnight’s time it’ll be the European elections. NPLD is eager for a new approach on languages to be adopted to explore the potential benefits – personal, social and economic – that linguistic diversity has for Europe. Multilingualism, far from being a problem, can be part of the solution to Europe’s current impasse: multilingual people are better at multitasking, are more creative and innovative; multilingual people have a greater capacity for being open-minded and perceptive; multilingual people are a more mobile workforce and often obtain better-paid jobs. To sum therefore, multilingual people are better-equipped for the challenges of today’s world!
For this reason, the NPLD has produced a concise information leaflet about the languages of Europe.
Khafi Kareem, the winner of our Languages Speak Up Competition, has been shortlisted for a Shell Livewire Award. If successful, she stands to win £1000 towards her start up Language Experience UK (www.LangExpUK.com), which delivers interactive language immersion workshops for young people using theatre in education.
A polyglot who speaks five languages (French, Italian, Yoruba British Sign Language, as well as her native English), Khafi has had the opportunity to live, work and volunteer in Italy, France, China and America, which accelerated her language learning. Having grown up in a family who could not afford school trips abroad, she understands that not all young people have the opportunity to travel. She believes that this should not be a barrier to language learning and wants to give young people the opportunity to actively experience the language and culture of the language they are learning through the Language Experience UK workshops.
London has a proud tradition of embracing its many different cultures and languages. Within neighbourhoods, schools often fulfil the role of “community hubs”, engaging families across cultures, supporting newly-arrived families and those with English as an additional language to overcome barriers, and encourage their children to achieve and contribute their skills and talents.
New language technologies present an important way in which we can enable smaller languages in the linguistically diverse digital age, helping them be heard around the world.
This threat of digital extinction for smaller languages will become even more acute as the internet – and the larger languages that it rode in on – extends into every aspect of our lives, dictating how we speak and think. Smartphones, tablets, mobile apps and social media all increase the reach of the digital universe, accompanying us from the second we wake up (and check the news and our email) to the last moment before we sleep (one final scroll through our Twitter feeds).
How can we reverse this trend for the European languages at risk? Read more