EUROPEAN PROJECTS AND NETWORKS FOR A MULTILINGUAL EUROPE
META-NET (Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance): This Network of Excellence, consisting of 60 research centres from 34 countries, was dedicated to building the technological foundations of a multilingual European information society. The benefits offered by Language Technology differ from language to language, and so do the actions that need to be taken within META-NET, depending on the factors such as the complexity of the respective language, the size of its community, and the existence of active research centres in this area. For more about META-NET click here.
CRACKING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER: Federation of European projects and organisations
This Federation assembles all European research and innovation projects as well as all related community organisations working on or with cross-lingual or multi-lingual technologies, in neighbouring areas or on closely related topics. In this umbrella initiative (http://www.cracking-the-language-barrier.eu/), partners collaborate on a joint objective to overcome any kind of language and communication barrier with the help of sophisticated language technologies. Among the areas of collaboration are shared scientific tasks and evaluation campaigns, strategy papers (such as the Strategic Agenda for the Multilingual Digital Single Market), data management, resource and technology repositories. This Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda presents the vision of the Human Language Project. It also presents ideas, approaches and solutions in order to make the Digital Single Market, a flagship initiative of the European Union, multilingual. The final document, Language Technologies for Multilingual Europe: Towards a Human Language Project, was unveiled in December 2017.
SURVEY LANG: The European Survey on Language Competences
This was a major initiative by the European Commission to support the development of language learning policies across Europe. The purpose of this project, according to the European Commission was “to provide participating countries with comparable data on foreign language competence and knowledge about good practice in language learning.” It was also intended to be an indicator to measure progress towards the objectives of improving foreign language learning. Contracted in 2008, the SurveyLang group consisted of eight expert organisations in the fields of language assessment, questionnaire design, sampling, translation processes, and psychometrics. The data collected by SurveyLang provided countries with statistically representative results on the language proficiency of secondary school students taking the first and second most taught languages (from English, French, German, Italian and Spanish). The pan-European context of the Survey meant that countries were able to use the Questionnaire and Language Test data collected and analysed by SurveyLang to explore factors which impact on language learning and which can shape language policy both within an individual country and across Europe. Find out more about the project and its interesting results by visiting their website.
LANGUAGE RICH EUROPE (LRE): A networking project which brought together for informed dialogue 1200 policy makers and practitioners from 24 European countries and regions, so as to discuss and take action towards the development of improved language policies and practices that could promote multilingualism across Europe. The network members of the LRE project were drawn from the areas of education, public services and spaces, the media and business and the project results, were targeted at decision makers and practitioners in education, business, public services and the media. The project, co-funded by the European Commission under its Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013), was managed by the British Council and its regional offices located in each of the participating countries. LRE provided a commentary on current language policies and practices in participating countries/regions, based on surveys and action-research conducted by BC’s partner network of experts and researchers. It claims to have captured good practice and to have brought stakeholders together face-to-face and on-line to learn from each other. Throughout 2012 network members participated in a series of interactive events across Europe to discuss the key findings and this resulted in concrete recommendations to policy makers at national and European level. The LRE Conclusions and Future Perspectives were published in one single volume, published in 2013.
MAGICC (Modularising Multilingual and Multicultural Academic Communication Competence)
The MAGICC project, which was the result of the activities of the Special Interest Group on ‘Assessment and Multilingual Competence’ established by the European Language Council (ELC/CEL) in 2010, aiming to address the new challenges appearing in the European Higher Education Area in this domain through the internationalization processes in higher education, society and economy, was co-funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme (2011-2014). The aim was to provide transnational tools for integrating academic and professional communication competences, intercultural and lifelong learning skills and competences as part of students’ academic profile. The project built on the reference levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and made the elements available in an academic ePortfolio. The complementary reference tools were specific to the needs and aims of the higher education sector and the multilingual and multicultural academic communication core competences, including academic mother tongue competences. Involved, in the project, as partners, were 8 European universities while the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe was an associate partner. While the project results are available at http://www.unil.ch/magicc/home/menuguid/resultats.html, the video regarding the project provides an interesting overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF6DEUhjLVg
MULTICOM (Multilingual Communication): Involving the cooperation of five European universities, the Multicom project followed up on the TNP3 and TNP3-D projects and was devoted to enhancing the relevance of Higher Education language programmes. The aim of the project was to develop and implement new curricula in the area of multilingual communication for first cycle language students. Specifically, the new programmes were to be designed to help graduates in the arts and humanities sector across Europe, to broaden their career prospects and access a wider range of Master’s Degree programmes. Furthermore, the project aspired to produce the next generation of highly-skilled multilingual experts needed to operate effectively at the European and international level as both mediators and organisers in industry, local and regional government, NGOs and other international organisations.
On the basis of updated needs analyses and constant dialogue and feedback from practising professionals in the areas concerned, learning outcomes for multilingual professional communication competences were defined and a curriculum framework was developed for the implementation of new first cycle language programmes. Learning materials were developed in English and in the five other languages of the consortium making them available via an online resource platform. The partner institutions implemented new courses based on the curriculum framework according to their own timeline and within their specific insitutional and regulatory context. A joint European degree was also suggested by the partner universities and by other interested other partners as a follow-on to the Multicom project.