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
Good intentions alone will not help us introduce languages such as Chinese and Arabic into the curriculum. If we want to thrive in a global society, we need to take firm action now, says the British Council’s Vicky Gough.
The numbers of students studying languages degrees is at its lowest in a decade – universities must make their academic study more pertinent, argues Professor Katrin Kohl, vice-chair of the Faculty of Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.
Learning a language is not only tough but may be dull unless it involves intellectual challenges, cultural attractions, and communicative rewards.
Bernardette Holmes, Speak to the Future’s Campaign Director, comments on research published on 25 March, 2014.
The publication of the 12th in the series of annual research exercises, Language Trends 2013-2014 carried out under the joint direction of CfBT and the British Council provides us with an up-to-date appraisal of language provision in English schools. The benefit of this report is in its longevity. It is the only survey which has collated annual data drawn from a sample of state maintained and independent secondary schools over this critical period in the development of language policy.
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
In 2002, government leaders of the member states called for “at least two foreign languages to be taught from a very early age,” and in 2005, the Union’s executive body, the European Commission, declared a long-term objective “to increase individual multilingualism until every citizen has practical skills in at least two languages in addition to his or her mother tongue.”
“Learning a foreign language fosters diversity, social inclusion and intercultural dialogue in Europe and beyond,” Dennis Abbott, the European Commission’s spokesman for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, wrote in an email. “But language learning is more than that. In a globalized world, languages are a crucial asset for mobility and jobs, especially for young people.”