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Multilingualism research group, seminar 8

When Mar 03, 2016
from 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM
Where GR05, English Faculty
Contact Name
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Speakers: Prof. Colin Williams (Cardiff University) and Dr Nick Saville (Cambridge English Language Assessment)

Official Language Strategies for Minority /Lesser Used Languages

Colin H Williams, Visiting Fellow, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge

This paper reports on an ongoing investigation into the preparation, implementation and evaluation of official minority/lesser used language strategies in Europe and Canada. It asks what is the degree of variation in who frames language strategies and language policies, for whom, under what conditions and with what aim, finance, and political conviction? What is the range and quality of data associated with the preparation and evaluation of official language strategies? Are good practices being exchanged between systems and, if so, how effective is that exchange? What can we learn about the formulation of policy, evidence base, periodic reform and revitalisation? What are the threats to the integrity of the Language Strategy? (E.g. fragmentation, fiscal cutbacks, lack of coordination within government at different levels). The initial findings have been of interest to a wide range of government decision-makers and senior public servants in the relevant jurisdictions.

How can multilingualism be supported through language education in Europe?

Dr Nick Saville, Director, Research and Validation, Cambridge English Language Assessment

The speaker will introduce the language policy landscape in Europe that has impacted education over the past 25 years. He will focus in particular on the policies of the two major European institutions, the Council of Europe (Strasbourg) and the European Commission (Brussels), as well as the work of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE). The Council of Europe was responsible for the development of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and its underlying scale of proficiency was adopted by the EU in an attempt to set a European Indicator of Language Competence, in line with the so called Barcelona Indicators. Results of two wide scale surveys commissioned by the EU and conducted by Cambridge English Language Assessment with the collaboration of ALTE members will be discussed. 


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