The European Day of Languages

http://www.ecml.at/images/Logo-EDL.gif

Celebrating linguistic diversity, plurilingualism, lifelong language learning

Good program isn't it?

Find out more here: http://www.ecml.at/edl/default.asp?t=info

You should also read BerlinBear's latest post: http://berlinbear.blogspot.com/

Do you think it is a good idea?

Julien :

Celebrating linguistic diversity, plurilingualism, lifelong language learning

Good program isn't it?

Find out more here: http://www.ecml.at/edl/default.asp?t=info

You should also read BerlinBear's latest post: http://berlinbear.blogspot.com/

Do you think it is a good idea?

Thanks for advertising my blog post Julien. In answer to your question, yes, I think it is a good idea to promote language learning. This needs much more work in some European countries than others. For instance I know that in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and others,  foreign language learning is a) a fact of life, b) starts very young and c) is embraced enthusiastically by most. On the other hand, I know that in the UK, foreign language learning does not get the attention it deserves and that the numbers of students of foreign languages are actually falling rather than growing. I don't know for certain, but I get the impression that France and Spain also have a long way to go on the language learning front. Perhaps someone with more experience in those countries than me can expand on that.

My only reservation about the European Day of Language is that it's all a bit vague. There hasn't been very much publicity about it (I only found out about it by accident) and it's not immediately clear exactly how one can get involved, except by deciding to learn a foreign language oneself. I'd like to see a bigger push and more promotion, as well as newspaper articles and tv news pieces about the language situation in Europe.

For those who are interested, there's an interesting page on the EU website Europa about the language situation in the EU. The English version is here: http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/pol … t%20useful

You can switch languages easily in the top right hand corner by clicking on the abbreviation for your language.

I'll be interested to hear what others have to say about th EDL.

Hey, that link broke. Sorry. Try this one instead. http://tinyurl.com/dedht

I've modified the link it's working now

BerlinBear :

For instance I know that in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and others,  foreign language learning is a) a fact of life, b) starts very young and c) is embraced enthusiastically by most.

This is something known, "North European" are really good in languages. I remember a swedish friend who told me they don't translate american movies in swedish, so they also learn by watching TV.

BerlinBear :

On the other hand, I know that in the UK, foreign language learning does not get the attention it deserves and that the numbers of students of foreign languages are actually falling rather than growing. I don't know for certain, but I get the impression that France and Spain also have a long way to go on the language learning front. Perhaps someone with more experience in those countries than me can expand on that.

I noticed that when I lived in London, even if British people like foreign cultures they're not really interested in learning languages. Spanish and French people are usually not really interested in other languages neither, but it's about to change. New generations seem to be more interested in foreign languages.

My girlfriend taught french last year in Spain, young spanish students really liked her course. I know I shouldn't generalize but most of her students were interested in foreign languages. In France, they learn English at the age of 9-10 (it was 11-12 few years ago). In know they're doing a lot of efforts (and they have to!).

Something still missing in those countries is the lack of studies/work exchange. We will say there's a lot of european programs (Erasmus, leonardo etc) ... but it's not enough! Young workers/students should be able to work/study very easily in a foreign country (and please, one year abroad is not enough).

The problem with Britain is that English is just a damn useful language (because the US speaks it), and quite frankly, I'm ashamed that most Brits then become lazy :(

In the UK, it is compulsory to learn a 'modern' language (we say 'modern' because that eliminates Latin ;)  ), until the age of 16. Having said that, most of us forget what we learnt. Traditionally, French was that language, with German being the 2nd most common. Now, with the English invasion of Spanish costal resorts, Spanish is becoming very popular and being offered as a choice in a lot of schools.
Of course, if you are lucky, you may get a school with some other options. I know a couple offer Italian. Also, my school did Japanese a bit (for 16-18 year olds as an extra small subject, taught at 14-16 Exam level). Shame I never studied it back then :(

Wales is a bit of an anomaly. It is a requirement that Welsh is taught until the age of 16. Therefore, you can do what I did, and not learn any other European languages, because somehow Welsh counts as a 'modern' language??!!??

I too have always been impressed by the other North European countries and their ability to learn other languages (usually English though).

2 contributions to a very very vast domain:

1) When I was a young French student (not like I'm THAT old ;)), languages were supposed to separate the good students from the rest. So German (Russian was top of the pop but rare) was best as first language. Then English. If you're learning Latin or Greek as a 'hobby', the more the better.

The second language was also supposed to divide us into brillant/normal/lazy/no good/brain of a jelly-o-fish sections. Namely German, then Spanish then Italian. Scary language food chain.

Personaly German class was a nightmarish experience for 4 long years(despite the fact that my father is from Alsace and his family had spoken German for generations). I erased my memory of all little tiny bits of that language... Yak.

Still I wonder if our teaching methods were up to date and our teachers that good... Or are we just hopeless regarding foreign languages ? :rolleyes:

2) My opinion is also divided when it comes to international language politics. Ok, I know, everybody (well the anglo-saxon world mainly) is laughing out loud about 'la Francophonie'. There's no such thing as 'the Anglophony' probably cause they don't need it. Almost everywhere, French is loosing grip, even in its African stronghold. Quebec is also struggling against insidious English invasion too but not for the same reasons though. They are discussing identity no market shares. And developing countries that are members of the Francophonie network are in because of the expected benefits... So many conflicting interests around an idea that could be cool at first glance.

Thanks to BerlinBear for the link, I'm just surprised that 37% of the people in Europe still think that French is an 'useful language'. ;)
I don't know about Europe but in Asia, foreign language means big, big bucks. It's a rising market with millions of potentials customers, sorry students... And it's ALL in English... yeah ! Let's celebrate diversity (at least for 1 dayper year) !!!

No problem if it's seems confused to you, it is to me too...

Take Care,

TC, burn-out French Language Crusader

How do european countries celebrate The European Day of Languages???:/

You should check their website ;)

and this page: http://www.ecml.at/edl/default.asp?t=relays

GavinT :

Wales is a bit of an anomaly. It is a requirement that Welsh is taught until the age of 16. Therefore, you can do what I did, and not learn any other European languages, because somehow Welsh counts as a 'modern' language??!!??

It's a language I speak at work, with my family, and at my local pub. 

It's modern enough for me.

That sounds interesting!

New topic