National Strategies on Language in the European Context

Kirsch, Claudine. 2008. National Strategies on Language in the European Context. In: Charmian Kenner and Tina Hickey, eds. Multilingual Learning: Diversity and Learning. Stoke on Trend: Trentham Books, pp. 162-168. ISBN 9781858564234 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Language learning programmes do not exist in a vacuum, but are influenced by geographical, societal, economic and political factors. In Europe, the integration of new members states into the European Union and the wide range of languages spoken require a programme that addresses plurilingualism and linguistic diversity. This programme is expected to further mutual understanding, mobility, democratic citizenship, and social cohesion (Beacco and Byram, 2003). Since January 2007, the European Union has recognised 21 official languages, but in addition, it is estimated that 40 million EU citizens also speak one or more of the 60 languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (Council of Europe, 1992). The European Union is multilingual in a double sense: first, because a range of language varieties are spoken within particular geographical areas, and second, because many of its residents are plurilingual. To promote plurilingualism and language diversity, the European Commission launched an action plan in 2003 (European Commission, 2003). Some of the successful initiatives implemented in primary and secondary schools are described here, as well as some of the discrepencies that remain between EU member states in their language teaching, particularly with regard to the teaching of regional or minority languages.

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Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies



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Date Deposited:

30 Sep 2010 14:44

Last Modified:

19 Apr 2016 16:27


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