Sursum linguae colloquium

The Sursum linguae colloquium is organized by the Brussels EUNIC cluster under the leadership of Instituto Cervantes – open to EUNIC member language teachers – it will be held tomorrow at the Instituto Cervantes in Brussels.
Join the event entitled Education Day: Language teaching and the challenge of TIC and e-learning in the European context. Also a great opportunity to find out about EUNIC in Brussels network’s shared values in the multilingualism promotion projects.

LRE wishes you a very happy European Day of Languages

Council of EuropeThis Language Rich Europe activity is once again springing up across Europe as we celebrate the European Day of Languages.

In Germany

In Estonia

A big European day of languages Fair is taking place in Narva where the Estonia LRE launch is also being held. All cultural institutes, as well as several embassies are taking part. There will be stands by these institutions promoting the respective country and languages, sample language lessons, presentations for teachers and a day long programme on the stage. The LRE launch is taking place at the end of the Fair as a special culmination of the day. It is planned for two hours, followed by discussions. The Polish and Austrian Ambassadors are present, all Cultural Institutes, Narva City Mayor. The event is being hosted by the Rector of the Narva college MS Katri Raik, who was actively involved in the research phase of the project.

In the Czech Republic

LRE was presented at a conference dedicated to multilingualism {how to teach  2nd and 3rd language in schools} – at the Ministry of Education in Prague.

In Hungary

The European Cocktails Bar included an LRE roundtable discussion on the topic of translation in popular culture with a blogger on mistranslation, a very talented translator for feature films, a literary translator of Scandinavian literature and a university lecturer.

In France

The LRE launch yesterday generated a lot of interesting discussion as part of the Week of foreign cultures in Paris, organised by FICEP, foreign cultural insitutes in Paris, and EUNIC. Prominent speakers included Heinz Wismann, author of Penser entre les Langues.

Meertaligheid in het onderwijs en op de Nederlandse arbeidsmarkt: verstaan we elkaar?

Volgend bericht werd geschreven door Aleksandra Parcinska, Project Manager Language Rich Europe in British Council Netherlands. Ze schrijft over taaltoetsen en meertaligheid in Nederland, waarover  een congres werd gehouden op 10 november in Den Haag.

In het kader van het Language Rich Europe project hebben British Council Netherlands, EUNIC Nederland en Huis van Europa (Vertegenwoordiging van de Europese Commissie in Nederland) een bijeenkomst georganiseerd over taaltoetsen en meertaligheid in Nederland. Op 10 november 2011 ontmoetten verschillende partijen die betrokken zijn bij taalonderwijs en taalgebruik op de Nederlandse arbeidsmarkt elkaar in het Huis van Europa in Den Haag om na te denken en van gedachte te wisselen over het onderwerp: verstaan we elkaar? 

Nederlanders leren van jongs af aan één of meerdere vreemde talen op school en het uitgangspunt voor de discussie waren vragen rondom het taalonderwijs op Nederlandse scholen:

  • Ligt het niveau hoog genoeg voor de internationale arbeidsmarkt?

  • Volstaat Engels of moet er meer aandacht zijn voor “echt” vreemde talen, zoals Russisch en Chinees?

  • Vinden internationale ondernemingen en instellingen voldoende opgeleide kandidaten?

  • Wat is de waarde van taaltoetsen?

Tijdens de discussiemiddag, geleid door Luc West (Huis van Europa), kwamen verschillende partijen aan het woord: onderwijsspecialisten, recruteringsbureaus en werkgevers die actief zijn in een meertalige omgeving. Zij spraken over de huidige situatie en de uitdagingen voor de toekomst, over problemen en oplossingen, over suggesties voor verbeteringen en over de mogelijkheid tot samenwerking.

Saskia Benedictus-van den Berg introduceerde de context van het Language Rich Europe project – de achtergrond, de methodologie en ambities. Daarna gaf elke spreker een toelichting over het aspect meertaligheid in zijn sector:

  • Onno van Wilgenburg, senior medewerker projecten bij het Europees Platform, over tweetalig onderwijs in Nederland (zie: www.europeesplatform.nl/tto).

  • Daniela Fasoglio, senior leerplanontwikkelaar bij SLO, over een proefproject voor Chinese lessen op Nederlandse scholen (zie: www.chineesopschool.slo.nl).

  • Roel Keuker, consultant bij Antal International, over het werven van meertalige kandidaten voor het bedrijfsleven.

  • Niels Koekoek, medewerker PR bij de Duits-Nederlandse Kamer van Koophandel, over het belang van meertaligheid, en in het bijzonder Duits, voor Nederlandse ondernemingen.

 Uit de presentaties kwam onder andere naar voren dat:

  • 1 op de 5 middelbare scholen tweetalig onderwijs aanbiedt.

  • er sinds augustus van dit jaar een eerstegraads lerarenopleiding Chinees aangeboden wordt in Leiden.

  • bedrijven een voorkeur hebben voor “native speakers” bij het vervullen van vacatures waaraan bepaalde taaleisen worden gesteld.

  • ondanks dat Duitsland één van de belangrijkste handelspartners van Nederland is, Duits in het onderwijs een ondergeschoven kindje is.

Daarna was er een levendige dialoog, met elkaar en met het geëngageerde publiek. In de dialoog werd onderstreept dat het belangrijk is het contact tussen scholen en bedrijfsleven te versterken; dat moet van beide kanten komen. Bovendien werd aangegeven dat de doeltaal niet altijd of onvoldoende als voertaal wordt gebruikt in het taalonderwijs.

 De discussiemiddag werd voorafgegaan door workshops voor beoordelaars van taaltoetsen van diverse taalinstituten in Nederland: het Goethe Instituut, Institut Francais, Instituto Cervantes, British Council en het Belgische deel van de Nederlandse Taalunie. De workshops werden geleid door het CITO, het Centraal Instituut voor Toetsontwikkeling, een Nederlandse organisatie die examens en toetsen ontwikkeld. Het doel van deze informele workshops was om de taaltoetsen van het CITO met toetsen van andere instituten te vergelijken.

 Dit was de allereerste keer dat een dergelijke kennisuitwisseling in Nederland werd georganiseerd. Door de spontane reacties van de deelnemers kunnen we zeggen dat het een nuttige en gewaardeerde oefening was – er is interesse om deze bijeenkomst vaker te organiseren. In deze omgeving bleek het Language Rich Europe project een ideaal en neutraal platform te zijn om verschillende partijen bij elkaar te brengen.

 Van de sprekers:

De discussiemiddag “Verstaan we elkaar?” gaf een interessante kijk op het belang van talenonderwijs in Europa. Daarbij bleek duidelijk dat het beheersen van het Engels alléén niet voldoende is in het Europa van vandaag de dag en dat het leren van een tweede of derde vreemde taal daarom verder gestimuleerd moet worden.”

 Niels Koekoek, Nederlands-Duitse Handelskamer

Languages Speak Up competition winners announced

To celebrate the European Day of Languages on 26 September 2011, Language Rich Europe and Poliglotti4.eu launched a competition to find Language Ambassadors who are willing to lend their voice to the cause of language learning by creating a short video of their linguistic journey. The future ambassadors came up with creative videos in which they used all the languages they speak and explained how their language skills had improved their life.

The jury was faced with a difficult decision to pick three winners out of many great entries. All the winning videos had the following in common: An original idea of the setting and plot, a huge amount of imagination and creativity, and the clarity of the benefits of being multilingual. So without further ado, here are the winners:

The 1st prize goes to Khafi Kareem from England, who is fluent in French, Italian, English, Yoruba and British Sign Language. 

The Runners Up prizes go to Deividas Jakavicius from Lithuania, who fluently raps in Lithuanian, English and Russian…

…and Sophie Reece-Trapp from England, impressing the jury with her French, English, German and Dutch language skills. 

The selected videos will feature as an important part of the websites of our major twin projects: Language Rich Europe and Poliglotti4.eu. The winners will also carry on work as language ambassadors to the projects and will write their own blog posts in the future. The winner was awarded a new iPad2 and the two runners-up won a Sony Bloggie camera. Please find the winning entries as well as the other participating videos on our project website.

We would like to thank all the participants for their submissions, their enthusiasm and their creativity.

We are really looking forward to working with our new language ambassadors who will without doubt encourage and motivate others to learn languages!

Language Rich Europe Partners’ Meeting

This is a guest post written by one of our partner organisations, EUNIC in Brussels, who were present at the Language Rich Europe partners’ meeting in Berlin. You can read the following article also on the EUNIC in Brussels website.

On 3 and 4 November 2011, the Language Rich Europe partners gathered in Berlin to reflect on the current state of the project and to discuss the next steps.

One of the topics of the partners’ meeting in Berlin was the Language Rich Europe Index – A European Index on Multilingual Policies and Practices. This Index will help to visualise the role and support for multilingualism and estimate Language Richness in the participating European countries states (national, foreign, regional, immigrant and minority languages). Furthermore, it will allow to evaluate each country’s legislation against EU guidelines and to highlight best practice.

Project partners also had the opportunity to present and discuss the dissemination strategy as well as local project activities. They equally talked about how to build and extend the LRE network based on the index results. The future LRE website which will be launched in the spring next year was presented by the web development company.

Around 30 official partners are taking part in this European wide project, including EUNIC in Brussels and 5 EUNIC member institutes (British Council, Goethe-Institut, Det Danske Kulturinstitut, Instituto Camões, Instituto Cervantes).

Participating countries include Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

For more information on the project please visit our project website or EUNIC in Brussels website (where the original article appears)

The Power of Babel – the European Day of Languages in Bulgaria

Council of EuropeTvetanka Panova, Partnership Project Manager for the British Council in Bulgaria, reflects on the European Day of Languages 2011 in Sofia and the love of languages that it revealed.

Deutsch, English, Español, Italiano, Polski, Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, Русский, Magyar, Français, česky, Ελληνικά…  there was a constant buzz of voices speaking different languages on the square on Sunday 2 October, and yet nobody was lost in translation. Symbolically located in front of Bulgaria’s National Theatre named after the great writer and poet Ivan Vazov, the celebration of the European Day of Languages 2011 was even grander and more successful than the previous year. The event was once again organised by EUNIC – the network of European Union National Institutes for Culture – and this time brought together 16 institutions representing 11 languages amidst TV cameras and radio microphones, government officials, specially invited visitors and passers-by.

So there we all were on the sunny morning of 2 October – the tents were busy with people even before the official opening. Thousands of materials were gone and had to be restocked constantly. Young children and adults were speaking to the staff members at the various language stalls – about courses in Bulgaria, about studying abroad, about cultural events and collaborations, or just picking up new words in foreign languages.

And they had to – pick up words, I mean. If they wanted a prize they had to earn it by… solving crossword puzzles! Now THERE’s Babelfor you – to solve it you’d have to find out what’s an anniversary in Italian and a bun in Russian, memory in Greek and an apple in Hungarian. No – this is no joke! The crossword puzzle demonstrated the power of multilingualism in action – at first glance impossible, it brought together all languages and scripts into a single list of words that – together – vertically read a popular Bulgarian proverb. It was so exciting to see young and old pouring over the puzzle, visiting language stall after the other to find out the exact spelling or pronunciation of some word, standing in groups and heatedly arguing about the exact connotation of similar words across different languages… And you’d really think it was all for the prizes! Well – if that were the case we wouldn’t have seen several people approach much later, when we had already finished the event and were putting our stuff away, and just want to hand in their solved puzzle out of pride of their personal victory rather than to collect anything for it!

And as if solving multilingual puzzles wasn’t enough, we also had readings of proverbs in different languages. To some they felt like tongue-twisters and yet people kept piling at the entrance to the stage to try their hand (or should I say, mouth) at “Words cut more than swords”, “Die Sprache sei die Wünschelrute, die gedankliche Quellen findet”, “Annyit ér az ember, ahány nyelvet beszél”, „Koniec języka za przewodnika”…

And then there were the country presentations – each centre had prepared a 15-minute programme highlighting the beauty of its language in a variety of forms. Some brought out the choir of their bilingual school who offered a selection of the best Italian lively songs, others had invited high school students to recite poetry, or translate the lyrics to famous opera arias. We even had reggae singers who came to say that English is not just about the standard UK accent but could vary to include the lovely melody of the Jamaican Patois and Rastafarian culture.

Judging from the amount of people who visited our event throughout the day (we estimate about 3,500) and took part in each and every of its multiple activities, Babel is not a problem for young people. They are eager to learn and use foreign languages, they are open to the cultures that they represent and they understand that your democratic freedom of speech must go hand in hand with proficiency of language – whatever language, the more – the better.

Neither is it a problem for the institutions. A phone call from the Human Resources Development Centre one day in early September recaps the motivation of the various institutions to take part. The HRDC is involved, among other things, in projects encouraging language studies as a career opportunity. They had seen the extensive media coverage of the celebration we organised in 2010 and had regretted they hadn’t known about it. So they set on a mission to find our how they might get involved in 2011. To the day they phoned the British Council who’d been leading on the Sofia EUNIC cluster for the past couple of years and respectively had led the organisation of the events as part of our programme in multilingualism. Now who wouldn’t love this – to get phone calls from partners eager to contribute to an even better event!

In conclusion, if this is the trend, this means that next year in 2012 we will be celebrating the European Day of Languages in 12 languages. Or more?

***

The European Day of Languages in Sofia was organised by the local branch of EUNIC – the network of European Union National Institutes for Culture, and in 2011 included: Austrian embassy, British Council, the Czech Centre, Polish Institute, French Institute, Goethe Institute, Hellenic Foundation of Culture, Hungarian Cultural institute, Instituto Cervantes, Embassy of Spain, Italian Cultural Institute as well as our partners from the Russian Cultural Centre, the Embassy of Switzerland, the Directorate General for Translation at the European Commission, Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Human Resource Development Centre.

 

European Day of Languages competition – Languages Speak up!

Council of EuropeThere are lots of exciting activities happening over the next few weeks as part of the European Day of Languages on the 26 September and we will cover as many of them as possible on the Language Rich Europe blog, so keep checking our Home and News and Events pages!

First up, the British Council and EUNIC in Brussels are launching a competition – Languages Speak up! – to find Language Ambassadors who are willing to lend their voice to the cause of language learning by creating a short video of their linguistic journey.

If you speak three or more languages we want to hear your story! Enter to become one of our Language Ambassadors and you could win a new iPad 2. The selected videos will feature as an important part of the websites of our major twin projects: Language Rich Europe and Poliglotti4.eu.

To enter all you need to do is to make a video clip of 2-3 minutes, using all the languages you speak.  In the video we want to know about you and how your language skills have improved your life.

Use the following to help you:

  • Who are you and what do you do? Introduce yourself.
  • What languages do you speak?
  • When did you learn your languages and how did you learn them?
  • Why do you feel that learning another language is important?
  • Can you tell us about a time or situation when knowing a foreign language really came in handy?
  • How does speaking different languages affect your daily life?
  • Please say “I love languages” in your favourite foreign language.

Important: Use your imagination and feel free to involve your friends and families.  Most important is to make your video fun to watch!  Also be sure you speak in all of your languages.

 Why participate?

  • To encourage and motivate others to learn languages.
  • To share your insights on benefits of learning a language.
  • To win a prize and feature on our websites among well-known Language Ambassadors.

Who can enter the competition?

  • Residents of the Council of Europe Member States
  • Adults of any age (18 or older).  Due to child protection regulations no one under 18 may appear in the video.

How will the winners be chosen?
A panel of judges from the multilingual Language Rich Europe project team and the British Council will choose the winner. The panel will judge your entry on:

  • original idea when choosing the setting and plot for the video clip
  • the imagination and creativity shown in presenting their story of multilingualism
  • the clarity of the benefits of being multilingual

How do I enter?

  • Read the instructions carefully first before making your video
  • Read the terms and conditions before entering
  • Make your video clip of Languages Speak Up!
  • Upload your video with maximum 4 minute length

How do I upload my video?
Between September 26 and November 4 (17:00 CET) upload your video on YouTube and post the link to the video here. (“Submit your ideas and comments” on the right hand side)

If you have any problems posting it there, just get in touch with christiane.keilig@britishcouncil.de.
Important: Your video should be uploaded by 17:00 Central European Time (CET) on Friday, 4  November 2011.

What can you win?
•    The winning video will win a NEW iPad 2 
•    One runner-up will win a Sony Bloggie camera

Important: All winners of prizes, including the main prize, will be informed by email and will be able to collect the prize on a date agreed with the organisers in the British Council office in your country.