Today’s launch: Hungary


Did you know that…

“Act LXXVII of 1993 on the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities recognized 13 minority languages: Armenian, Bulgarian, Croatian, German, Greek, Gypsy (Romani and Boyash), Polish, Romanian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene and Ukrainian. Act XLIII of 2008 included Gypsy languages (Romani and Boyash) under the scope of the commitments of the Republic of Hungary under Article 2(2) of the Charter. There is official provision in nation-wide education for all the 13 languages referred to in the Nationalities Act. At present, there are 927 kindergartens with a minority education programme (21% of all kindergartens in Hungary), however, only 9 are maintained by minority self-governments.”

The launch takes place at the British Embassy in Budapest.

The speakers at this launch are:

  • Simon Ingram-Hill, Director British Council Hungary
  • Miklós Soltész, State Secretary for Social, Family and Youth affairs
  • HE Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador to Hungary
  • Martin Hope, Language Rich Europe Project director
  • Eilidh McDonald, Language Rich Europe Project coordinator
  • Dr Habil Csilla Barhta, Senior Research Fellow, Research Center for Multilingualism

Meertaligheid: óók voor kinderen met een auditieve of communicatieve beperking!

Below is a press release (in Dutch) written by Tjeerd Rintjema from our partner organisation Mercator in the Netherlands after the Expert Seminar, which took place from 9-10 February in Leeuwarden. The main message that came out after the first day of the seminar was that the sooner you begin with multiple languages the better – and this applies to everyone (also to children with auditory and communicative disability).

Tot nog toe gingen veel logopedisten en therapeuten ervan uit dat je kinderen met een auditieve of communicatieve beperking, zoals doofheid, downsyndroom of autisme, beter eentalig kunt grootbrengen. Drs. Mirjam Blumenthal, onderzoeker bij Koninklijke Kentalis, toont tijdens een lezing het tegendeel aan. Zo laat zij een opname zien van een zevenjarige die doof is sinds zijn eerste levensjaar, maar desondanks drie talen spreekt. Hij is weliswaar een uitzondering maar wel illustratief voor haar betoog.

Blumenthal is een van de veertig deelnemers aan het Expert Seminar, georganiseerd door het Mercator Kenniscentrum van de Fryske Akademy in Leeuwarden op 9 en 10 februari. Experts uit heel Europa zijn in de Friese hoofdstad samen gekomen om te praten over het thema “Early Language Learning”. De centrale boodschap na dag één luidt: Hoe eerder je begint met meer talen hoe beter, en dat geldt voor iedereen.

Meer informatie over het Expert Seminar kunt u vinden op gathers Multilingualism Stakeholders in Madrid

In this guest post Jana Mehl, Project Assistant, reports on the Stakeholders Meeting on Multilingualism which took Place in Madrid between 1 and 2 December 2011. The project partners as well as experts, policy makers, stakeholders and members of civil society gathered in Madrid to reflect the current state of the project and discuss the situation of multilingualism in Europe. is a project promoting multilingualism in Europe – the result of the deliberations of the EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism. The topics of the Stakeholders Meeting hosted by the Representation of the European Commission in Spain were the political recommendations of the EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism, results of so far (On-line Language Observatory, Survey results, Multilingualism Tools, Ambassadors, Web), migrations, languages and social inclusion, including languages and public services, language learning and education, language policies, including minority languages as well as language and the media.

The Meeting was opened by Project Director Uwe Mohr, Director of the Language Department at the Goethe-Institut in Brussels. The project was especially pleased to have won over so many high quality guest speakers, whose contributions to the conference were greatly appreciated by all participants. Among the speakers was also Belén Bernaldo de Quiros, Head of the Multilingualism Policy Unit at the European Commission DG EAC, who underlined the importance of fostering language competencies amongst European citizens and presented the new EU programme « Erasmus for All ». It is an instrument in the framework of the EU 2020 strategy of which the objective is the investment in knowledge and education. During the next year the programme will be negotiated with the EU Council and EU Parliament.

Among the other guest speakers on 1 December were Joseba Achotegui, Psychiatrist and Professor at the University of Barcelona who talked about language as a component of the Ulysses syndrome in migrants, Prof. Piet Van Avermaet, Director of the Centre for Diversity and Learning at the Ghent University (Belgium) speaking about Super diversity, glocalisation and multilingualism and Prof. Concepción Otero Moreno from the University of Hildesheim and Braunschweig Mayor City (Germany). She delivered a speech about immigration, language and integration as well as training courses for language mediators in the non-academic field.

On day 2 of the Stakeholders Meeting spoke inter alia Ms. Carmen Valero Garces, Professor of Interpretation and Translation at Alcalá University who presented the university’s programme on multilingualism and public services. Another very interesting speech was given by Gardenia Trezzini, Editor in Chief at Euronews. Ms. Trezzini explained how Euronews dealt with its 11 working languages, as well as about difficulties and challenges incurring from this extensive language regimen.

Project partners of EU organisations representing the non-formal and informal learning as well as the arts and cultural sector agreed upon the highly relevant influence civil society actors play in shaping innovative  language learning approaches and multilingual services in the European public space. In order for this to be achieved, convincing  multilingualism policies are required.

The meeting was a great opportunity to exchange ideas, examples of best practice and to discuss the current situation of multilingualism in the European Union. All participants appreciated very much the varied and high quality contributions of experts, policy makers, stakeholders and members of the civil society brought together by this event.

For more information on the project and the Stakeholders Meeting please visit our project website

Contact: Ulla-Alexandra Mattl, Project Manager ( )

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)

Labas from Vilnius

The Language Rich Europe project partners have gathered in Vilnius (therefore the “labas” of the title which means “hello” in Lithuanian) for two days to discuss the next steps of the project. The British Council office in Lithuania has been organising the whole event and the first day of the meeting on Thursday 2 December took place at the Ministry of Economics. The meeting will end on Friday 3 December and more articles will follow on this blog. In the meantime, here’s a very short update on the first very productive meeting day.

We were welcomed at the Ministry of Economics with the statement of how important multilingualism is for Lithuania and how it can influence global trade. Followed by a warm welcome to “the multilingual city of Vilnius. With only 0.5 % of Lithuanians speaking only one language, Vilnius is a natural habitat for such a meeting!” We then listened to a presentation by Irena Smetoniene, Chair of the State Language Commission. Ms Smetoniene went through the role of the Commission in the preservation of the Lithuanian language, explaining that “Lithuanian language ensures national identity and survival” and that “Its survival depends on policy.” Foreign language learning being part of the Ministry of Education’s role.

Throughout the day, partners had the opportunity to work on the Language Rich Europe index questions and think further about the methodology that will be used to collect data across the different countries.

At the end of the day, we had the chance fo visit the Lithuanian Language Museum where we could learn about the history of lithuanian letters, the “Merry-go-round of words-shadows” and the Lithuanian language dictionary (the dictionary began being written on cards in 1922 and was finished in 2002, it is all accessible online now).

Photos by Kamile Zickyte.