This is the first post on this blog that is not related to the After Babel course. I completed this course with a 9.0, which is the highest grade I have ever got during my time in Maastricht. This might be an indicator of the joy I had taking this course, so much that I even considered studying multilingualism in Groningen. However, in the end I chose to go to stay in my beloved Maastricht to enroll in the master’s programme of Public Policy and Human Development. In this last week before the courses start, I wanted to start writing on this blog again. Me still being interested in languages and language policies wants to try to continue this blog from a language perspective.
It is known that the European Union is an entity and a project very unique nowadays and in history. Its unique features depends mostly by its unprecedented multicultural essence and the challenges that this entails. At the core of what characterizes cultures and identities, there is the language or languages that are inherited and spoken. It comes with no surprise that in the matter of European Union language policy, the debate is intense ongoing. Multilingualism is a value of the European Union. In order to keep it alive in and overwhelming globalizing world there is the need for constant and proactive policies. I’m going to discuss the language policy of the EU in its working institutions and on a the broader range as well.
Critics and room for improvements will always be there, nevertheless the EU language policy has taken many steps and experimented many programs during the past years as it is possible to read in the LETPP Consortium (2011). The main objective of the policies is to raise awareness of the value and opportunities of the EU’s linguistic diversity an encourage the removal of barriers to intercultural exchange. It was in the 1980s that there was a raise in the demand to bring this principles more into practice. As an example the popular Erasmus project has been created, among others. A lot of focus has been put in the Education policy as a platform for Language policy. In fact the successful Erasmus program permits students to integrate part of their academic formation with universities from other countries. The project surely enhanced for European student the awareness of the multicultural landscape in Europe in a very attractive way, by also making them more aware of their differences and their identities. As a personal experience, I’ve only started to become aware of how much Italian I was from the moment I started to live abroad. Living abroad changed me but I haven’t lose my Italian identity, despite the fact that I speak English everyday and only sometimes Italian. Despite the fact that I appreciate the possibility of English as a medium of instruction, I wouldn’t want English to became to invasive in the future.
Due to globalization and the Internet, English established itself as a lingua franca in the world. This started to be a reality also for the EU and its institutions, especially after the consecutive rounds of enlargements. In fact, the more representatives with different languages in the EU institutions, the more comes the need for the usage of a language that is universally comprehensible. Despite the fact that the EU has 24 official languages, only few of them are actually used as working languages. The most used are English French and German. But English is getting the predominance constantly more. This created an ongoing debate between opposing views and perceptions, for instance among the Dutch Theo von Els’ and the German Ulrich Ammon. The latter in facts contests to the former the proposal for English as the only official working language of the EU. Ammon explains how the presence of German as a working language in EU is important for the status of the language itself. Other criticism for the “English-only”Europe, come from Phillipson that proposes different best and worst case scenarios. One of the worst he proposes, is the policy of laissez faire towards the issue, which would lead to the English triumph eventually. On the other hand, despite being a strong supporter of multilingualism, he advocates the use of Esperanto as the pivotal language of the European Union. This seems like a strong and unusual position and more ideological than practical. in favor of the argument, the adoption of Esperanto could strengthen the political and ideological view of the European Union, and solve disputes on the unfairness for a preferred language in the EU. On the other hand Esperanto has not many speakers in the world (but indeed that could change if such policies were introduced). But more importantly the scenario of the imposition of an artificial language over the world predominant English seems an utopia.
Using English as a lingua franca and as the mainly working language for the EU,doesn’t seem to me as problematic and unfair. Discussions and debates (assuming that these are made without interpreters) could still be made on equal level as long as more people in the future generations will know English and possibly at higher proficiency. But knowing another language other than English is actually the advantage and added value that people could appreciate. Whether for bilateral talks or negotiations or for interest into another culture. What really matters the most, is that the adoption of English as a lingua franca or working language would cause the gradual abandon or disinterest for the other languages. And this is where the EU language policy should increase its efficacy. In this sense, the Romanian commissioner responsible for Multilingualism, Leonard Orban, has put great emphasis in one of his speech.
Although appreciating what has been done so far, he affirmed how languages should be an integral part of lifelong learning, and how Europe should envisage a space for European political dialogue through multilingual communication with the citizens. Europe should keep of being proud of its multicultural and multilingual nature, and being an example for the rest of the world. No matter the number of people by whom a language is spoken or its political influence, its survival is important for the inheritance and the diversity that characterizes our world.
Da quando sono nato, non ho mai avuto molto contatto con lingue minoritarie e dialetti. I miei genitori parlavano strettamente Italiano. Sono nato a Roma come i miei genitori, anche loro cresciuti monolingue. A sentirli parlare si poteva tuttalpiù notare un accento abbastanza romano, ma neanche così forte. E questa differenza l’ho potuta notare solamente quando all’età di 6 anni ci siamo trasferiti ad Imperia, una provincia del Ponente ligure. Alcuni dei miei amici trovavano divertente l’accento con cui pronunciavo alcune parole, ma avendo vissuto lì per oltre 15 anni il mio accento è diventato neutro. Tuttavia, non c’è solo l’accento che è tipico della liguria. Se ti inoltrerai lungo le calate delle vecchi moli, con le stradicciole e le vecchie case, potrai udire le persone (specie quelle anziane), parlare in un altra lingua. La lingua a cui mi riferisco è il dialetto Ligure . Il quale è poco comprensibile se non lo conosci. Esistono molti dialetti in Italia che riesco a comprendere più facilmente. Ma se sento parlare il ligure stretto, è probabile che non capisca più del 10-20 % di quel che viene detto. Questa lingua, è a parer mio in pericolo. Pur avendo vissuto in Liguria per 15 anni, sono entrato in contatto con il Ligure poche volte. Il ligure non viene insegnato nelle scuole, non viene trasmesso regolarmente nelle televisioni, e la maggior parte dei miei amici anche originari del posto, non sa come esprimersi ligure, e capisce questa lingua quanto me. Per la verità, la maggior parte delle volte che ho potuto ascoltare il ligure, è grazie a delle canzoni.
Più nello specifico, mi riferisco alle canzoni di Fabrizio de Andrè, cantautore famoso in un tutta Italia, è il cantante simbolo e orgoglio di tutta la liguria. Nato e vissuto a Genova, si contraddistingue fra le altre cose, per cantare molte delle sue canzoni In Ligure, portando in qualche modo la lingua in contatto anche con il resto d’Italia. Ovviamente la sua popolarità è ancora più forte in Liguria. Il cantautore ha contribuito forse più di tutti a far sì che la gente ascoltasse il Ligure, o cantasse in ligure. Io stesso sono in grado di ripetere a memoria molti dei versi delle sue canzoni, e capirne parzialmente il significato. Una delle sue canzoni più famose, rimane “Crêuza de mä” cantata interamente in genovese, e che fa riferimenti alla vita nella “Genova vecchia”.
Anche se probabilmente il suo intento non era quello di salvaguardare il futuro della lingua ligure, si può ipotizzare che ha contribuito più lui in questa causa che “top bottom policies”. Questo dipende largamente dal difficile status del Ligure, che pur essendo una lingua a se stante, non è riconosciuta come “Lingua Minoritaria Europea”. Di conseguenza non ci sono efficaci policies di salvaguardia. Per altre lingue presenti sul territorio Italiano esistono misure si protezione più radicate, sebbene talvolta non perfette. Tuttavia, dove manca l’istruzione e la televisione, arrivano le canzoni. Le canzoni di Fabrizio de Andre continuano ad essere intramontabili sebbene sia deceduto nel 1999. Inoltre, la sua popolarità ha anche ispirato altri gruppo a cantare in ligure. Il più famoso esempio moderno, sono i “Buio Pesto” i quali si esibiscono in vari generi musicali, ma cantano quasi esclusivamente in Ligure. Anche il nome del gruppo rimanda al famoso condimento di origine ligure, per l’appunto, il pesto.
Per finire, a parte il supporto e la vitalità che queste canzoni forniscono alla lingua ligure, internet offre oggi la possibilità di fare molto di più per chi volesse. Infatti come ho potuto leggere in alcuni articoli, l’esponenziale crescita dell’utilizzo di internet ha creato nuove possibilità per le lingue minoritarie di essere ascoltate e conosciute. Oggigiorno esistono Wikipedia in moltissime lingue, Ligure compreso. Artisti possono esprimersi e cantare canzoni nei loro dialetti raggiungendo chiunque fosse interessato grazie a youtube, come accade per molti aspiranti cantautori napoletani. Tutto ciò permette di ascoltare canzoni in lingue e dialetti di tutta italia e del mondo, un esperienza non poco interessante!
For the filming of this video, we decided to visit the UniversiteitsKoor of Maastricht (of which I am part of), to introduce the singing element in the language variety.
Enjoy the vision!
When I was in high school, I’ve never much liked English class. My grades were rather low and I had no significant interest in improving my language proficiency. By then I didn’t have even remotely the idea that one day I would have lived abroad and studied in English. I thought I had no need and no much use for English but holidays. It was only after my first year of university in Torino that I had my first significant experience with the English language. After quitting my first year of university I started an internship in the European Parliament, eager to escape my unattractive boring routine and to try something different and somehow adventurous. I say adventurous because by then my knowledge of English was really poor, only based on my unpracticed school knowledge. My French was even worse.
It was indeed a major change, that required a lot of adaptation and effort on my side, but eventually that paid off. Realizing of much important is the English language even in Brussels, I tried to avoid Italians as much as possible to practice it in depth. The improvement was exponential, and it made me even more attracted by the environment, and the opportunities that the proficiency in this language could open. After the End of my stage (4 months), I had to go back to Italy. My spoken English reached a good level , but I felt I was not done with it, I wanted to improve further, and keep living in an international environment. Is with that desire that I came to find out about Maastricht.
Once again, since I was never the most motivated and ambitious student, I was embarking myself in another difficult challenge. Not even my father had much trust in this at first, since I dropped out from the Italian university in Turin. But I appreciated the system of Maastricht from the beginning for various reasons, and I was enthusiastic. For instance, Maastricht University gives the opportunity to everyone with a diploma to enroll, no matter the grades in high school. So if you work hard, you can manage. Therefore I decided to start, and it was indeed, difficult. In the book “Multilingual approaches in University Education”, is shown how the chances of success increase when studying something conceptually familiar in a familiar language. I was totally new in the field of European studies (I’ve studied in a scientific Lyceum), an my knowledge of English language was still a bit weak for academic levels (especially writing skills). Nevertheless, knowing that the challenge was hard, I put lot of energy and effort to succeed the first year, and I’ve succeeded. An now I am fairly satisfied with the level of m English.
I believe that is a great thing that many Dutch universities give you this opportunity to study the full bachelor program in English; that is something more difficult to find in Italy. I do not argue that studying in English is better than studying in Italian, or any other language. But It’s great to have the opportunity if you want so. Especially in some fields, it is very convenient for the competitiveness. The Bachelor program in European studies is arguably one of the programs where this choice makes sense the most. That is because is convenient that the future people that will be working in international environments have a certain fluency with today’s lingua Franca. I could notice this in first person when I was having my internship in the European parliament. Some Italian politicians had a really poor knowledge of the English language, and had to rely a lot on their assistants. I believe that despite the fact that they might have been good politicians, this deficiency is very penalizing in an international arena. As an Italian, I would wish that most of people that are meant to represent me in the European Parliament have, if not proficiency, decent knowledge of English language.
As this map shows, the percentage of population able to hold a conversation in English in Italy is rather low in comparison to many of its counterparts in the EU. Many of these country with higher level of English, also perform better in the economy ( Yes I know, not Greece). But far from arguing that that is the solely and manly reason, I believe that an increase of the English popularity in Italy can only benefit the country and its workers competitiveness. This all adds up on the my opinion that Italy should follow the example of other European countries, and offer more bachelor programs taught in English. This could also help the Universities in Italy that, in recent years, have experienced a rapid decline in the in the international rankings.
Downsides? I don’t think this will eventually cause the demise of the other national languages, at least not at the speed that should worry anyone. I have indeed noticed that sometimes I’m lacking some words when I have to speak Italian again, or I express myself with untypical constructions. But I don’t see it as a problem, especially because it goes back to be normal if I am back to Italy for longer than a month. In conclusion, the mild disadvantages don’t match the potential opportunities for English-Medium Instruction at Universities, which are far greater.
The objective of the European Union is for everyone across the continent to be able to speak two languages additional to their mother-tongue. That is the official ‘European Language Policy’. Multilingualism they claim, is an “important element in Europe’s competitiveness”. I repeat – everyone is to speak TWO additional languages besides their mother tongue!!! First, I want to point out that the EU actually spends some of its time focusing on implementing programmes so that this goal can eventually be reached. Now, I’m not entirely sure where to even go on from. I ‘ll go from here –
I am not in any way against the idea of people learning another language. In my utopia, everyone speaks the same language or is at least able to. It would make everything so much easier.. Clearer.. It would probably be of great help bringing peace to the world as well, haha. But lets be honest, the way things stand in the world most people only speak one language. Their mother-tongue. Learning a new language is often difficult, especially as you get older. In some subjective scenarios it may not even be necessary to speak anything else but your local dialect. In Europe however, we do have a significant amount of bilingual speakers. Many people in Western Europe for example speak English in addition to their native language. You’d think that the EU would then say – alright, lets begin with one additional language. I’d stand by that objective without doubt. To start with two when we haven’t even achieved one yet just seems strange.
The ONLY reason the EU, although it will not express it this way, has after so much pondering decided to require people to speak two languages instead of the logical single extra language is because it does not want to offend the ego’s of either the French, the Germans or the English. In the institutional working arena, all major languages may be used. They all think their language is the most important and therefore should be used the most. None of them are allowed to “win”! Multilingualism is a strength, and can be very useful to the individual. But this is not what the ELP is based on. If we were taking the Union seriously, I do not think major EU objectives should be formed on the basis of emotions and personal pride issues. If the governments involved were truly (pointing fingers at the same three again here) focused on what would serve the European people best, they would not let their pride-complexes affect long-term decisions. Every decision has to be the most rational decision, and the best decision in the long run. Many Member States will have to, and already do, accept things they may not want to for the greater good. If in this instance this means that English is introduced everywhere, then the French and Germans will just have to take it. I just feel this issue is something we should not even be discussing any more in our time. This for two reasons – the first because I thought we would be past that. I think the Germans, French and English should all be past that. The second reason is because… well, technology is coming.
I agree with the idea that there should be discussion and research done into what language would be most viable and easy to implement for everyone. However in all the literature for this task only one author shared my view that the language chosen should be entirely independent of any sort of emotional sentiment. I also support the view that only one language should be chosen. Some authors have proposed using Esperanto, amongst other artificial languages in order for the common European language to be ‘neutral’. Latin was also proposed. Now although I am perhaps delusional enough to believe that if we introduced Esperanto in every school across Europe now, that in 20-30 years we all might share a common level of it.. I believe other major developments will happen before we could even reach that point. The whole discussion about which language should be spoken in the European political arena just seems irrelevant to me as well. It took me a while but I am now finally going to get back on my former point about technology on the rise.
The EU spends so much money finding and employing a huge amount of translators for every get-together. Sometimes it has to find the most unheard of combinations – a Lithuanian to Maltese translator for example. Or in even more difficult situations, just make sure each translator from both sides is able to translate into the same language. The discussion about which language to choose as a common European language will last decades. Instead of wasting our time fighting about whose the biggest, we could also all wait till translation-technology improves. By my estimations, this will take 10-15 years at most. Within that time (will probably go even faster), machines which combine the functionalities of Google Translate and Siri will exist to translate our every word as we speak them out.
Don’t believe me? Check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRBb27BzevQ
And that’s just one of many basic prototypes coming up.
This technology in the political arena, if the speaker was speaking in English and a specific representative did not understand English, instead of hiring a translator, the representative could then select which language he or she wants to have the speech translated into by his device and it would do so for him/her as the speech is given. Eventually you would even be able to hand-select the type of voice you want to hear.
In the social arena, it would have similar applicability. Lets say you’re Dutch, and you met a Romanian. Neither of you spoke English, or any other common language. But you needed to communicate about an immediate, highly important situation you have both gotten into. You could speak Dutch, and the other person could speak Romanian. Your device would just translate what the other is saying in the language you choose in the moment.
I truly believe that as our societies continue to modernize, the need for a European Language Policy will completely be eradicated for the aforementioned reasons. Multilinguilism will remain a personal strength, and all learning a common language would be the best thing for establishing understanding for each other. However, I believe that technology will do this at a faster pace. Maybe we will even start wearing an earplug which directly translates anything any one else is saying around you in a foreign language to your own. I implore everyone to inform themselves about the latest tech news – because I’m telling you, anything is going to be possible.
Last but not least, Lucas and I offer a parody of the stereotypes, stigmas, myths, symbols, prejudices and feelings that Germans and Italians in Maastricht treasure for each-other. Interviews from Hamburg to Bari without leaving town! Special thanks to KJ the Swede.
The European Union (EU) is stuck in a dilemma. Its own “raison d’être” is diversity, inclusiveness and acceptance of all cultures within the EU. Language is an integrant part of each culture. Moreover, the EU aims to be a model of democracy. These two features mean that the EU must treat each language equally within the institutions and it must promote them equivalently.
The EU’s motto “Unity in Diversity” has been shown in different ways. The most funded and promoted is the Erasmus program that helps students financially to study a part of their study abroad in another Member State. All countries and languages are in theory treated equally; however, by taking a closer look at these programs, we can easily notice that in practical terms, the languages are not treated equally what so ever.
Most students taking part in the Erasmus program arrive in the host country with barely any knowledge of the host country’s language. Having already discussed the difficulties that students face in learning new content in a foreign language, most students chose to follow the courses in English. Moreover, English is often the Lingua Franca of the international Erasmus student community and Erasmus is often seen as a way to improve their English skills. As a result, participants of the Erasmus program generally do not achieve any skills in the home language, but rather improve their English. This reality is not in line with the European ideals. This flaw must be analyzed in order to provide a valid solution.
Why is English the Lingua Franca in Europe for Erasmus students? Economically speaking, English is by far the most valuable language. As de Swaan explained, language choice is based primarily on a utilitarian perspective. Languages are collective: the biggest its amount of speakers, the more attractive it is to learn it. English has reached this stage of being “hypercollective”. This reality is showed in the different European national school systems where about 90% of them provide English courses as a L2.
Both the problem and the solution reside in this reality. The problem is that before acquiring a proficiency in English, student will always choose to learn English and will always favor universities providing English course. Only after achieving English, student can choose another language as a L3 to learn. This choice is then more based on personal or cultural preferences. Erasmus in this context would show much better result in learning the language of the host country. In order to achieve this, I would recommend taking two independent measures at the EU level. First achieving English fluency by:
- learning English as L2 from Primary School to the end of High School; and
- encouraging one-year immersion programs in an English-speaking country at the end of high school in order to reach full proficiency (see the example of Germany).
Second, specific to the Erasmus program, I would put some conditions for the funding to help only the “motivated to learn a language” students by:
- obliging students to take a language course while having the Erasmus; and
- by only validating the Erasmus fund if the student passed a test demonstrating a level of A1 or higher in the country’s language at the end of the program.
However, the English fluency policy is hard to be clearly formulated for a reason: principles of equality, language equality and language rights (Article 3 TEU states, “It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced”). Such right can become problematic when approached in a rigorist way. The Linguist Skutnabb Kangass (SK) does so and gives her opinion in an Immigrant Minority Language paper where she advocates “strong models” for language education. Strong model consists of imposing minority languages on the majority. For a Belgian example, French-speaking children would have to learn kituba, one of the national languages in Congo, because it is the first language of one of their classmate. Although English enables students to communicate with the rest of the world and dutch enables students to communicate with their country mates. This, for the sake of equality and fairness. Brilliant.
While such approach remains marginal, they still influence some politicians, particularly those sensitive to the “social progress” of society. These types of thinking must be opposed for three reasons:
- economically speaking, as mentioned earlier, English is the most rewarding language;
- economic rewards are always coupled with cultural and linguistic shininess (South Korean video Gam Nam Style on YouTube is the most watched video of all the times and it is in Korean); and
- cross-country exchange would be easier in any domain.
The EU is a group made up of different types of people and mindsets. Therefore, a realistic and pragmatic approach must be taken. The SK multilingual approach is “de rigueur” in the EU and as de Swaan correctly stated, “The more languages, the more English”. The use of other EU official languages are decreasing faster than ever before.
To summarize this post, I advocate a strict hierarchy within language learning.
- L1: Official state language(s) for the sake of a working and a cohesive nation State.
- L2: English as the Lingua Franca of the globalized world.
- L3 free of choice: Minority Language, Immigrant minority Language, or a European language with whom speaker has particular affinity.
I know this post is controversial, but please keep in mind that first, controversy evolves debates and debates remains the most typical feature of democratic societies. Secondly, I purposely chose a provocative tone and “politically incorrect” ideas in order to create that debate.
The European Union is an international organization of undoubtedly unique multilingual character. The official status granted to all 24 official national languages of its 28 MS is legally enshrined in EU Law and derives from both, the political necessity to democratically represent the multiplicity of languages of roughly half a billion citizens and the symbolic significance of diverse European historical, cultural and political traditions. This language regime is laudable and worthy of preservation if the EU is to maintain close ties to its citizens through public communication and deliberations in all 24 official languages (Athanassiou, 2006, p. 5). This is not, however, to close one’s eyes to the current challenges the EU is facing in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis and the rethinking this might entail for the working language regime deployed in the EU committee and delegation meetings.
Der Europäischen Union gehören 28 Länder an in denen 24 offizielle Sprachen praktiziert werden. Dies ist Ausdruck der kulturellen Vielfalt der Union, und damit ein wichtiges Kulturerbe. Jedoch stellt dies die politische Organisation, welche die EU ist, vor große Probleme im Umgang und der ständigen Kommunikation mit ihren Mitgliedern. Im Rahmen ihrer Bemühungen um die Mobilität und die interkulturelle Verständigung zu fördern, hat die EU sich auf die Flagge geschrieben, das Lernen mehrerer Sprachen als wichtige Priorität zu bezeichnen. Deswegen unterstützt sie durch Fonds zahlreiche Programme und Projekte in diesem Bereich. Mehrsprachigkeit in Anbetracht der EU, ist ein wichtiges Element in der europäischen Wettbewerbsfähigkeit. Eines der Ziele der Sprachenpolitik der EU ist daher, dass jeder europäische Bürger zwei weitere Sprachen neben der eigenen Muttersprache beherrschen sollte.
Das Streben der Europäischen Union nach „Einheit in der Vielfalt“ untermauert das ganze europäische Projekt. Die harmonische Koexistenz vieler Sprachen in Europa verkörpert diese. Sprachen können Brücken zwischen Menschen bauen, sodass wir den Zugang zu anderen Ländern und Kulturen finden, und es uns ermöglicht, einander besser zu verstehen. Fremdsprachenkenntnisse spielen bei der Förderung der Beschäftigungsfähigkeit von Jungen Europäern eine immense Rolle, und stattet sie optimal für die Arbeit im Ausland aus; ein Aspekt, der in den kommenden Jahren immer wichtiger zu werden scheint. Sie sind auch ein Faktor bei der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit; schlechte Sprachkenntnisse führen in vielen Unternehmen dazu, Verträge zu verlieren und stellen ein Hindernis für Arbeiter dar, die vielleicht eine Beschäftigung in anderen Ländern als dem eigenen suchen. Ein Problem in der Entwicklung ist auch, dass noch zu viele junge Leute mit Potential die Schule vor ihrem Abschluss verlassen, ohne über Kenntnisse in einer zweiten Sprache zu verfügen – Grund genug, den Sprachunterricht und das Lernen effizienter zu machen.
Eins der vielen Programme der Europäischen Union, zur Förderung von Sprachkenntnissen und Erweiterung des kulturellen Wissens ist das Erasmus+ Programm. Dieses ist interessant zu erwähnen, da es speziell uns Studenten betrifft. Erasmus +, welches Anfang 2014 begann, ist das neue EU-Programm für allgemeine und berufliche Bildung, Jugend und Sport für den Zeitraum 2014-2020. Die Förderung des Sprachenlernens und der Sprachenvielfalt ist eines der spezifischen Ziele des Programms. Im Erasmus + Programmführer heißt es: “Die vorhandenen Möglichkeiten, um sprachliche Unterstützung zu bieten haben den Auftrag die Mobilität der Studenten effizienter und effektiver zu gestalten, um zur Verbesserung der Lernleistung und damit zum Ziel des Programms beizutragen.“ Unter Leitaktion 1 des Führers wird sprachliche Unterstützung für die von den Teilnehmern für das Studium, die Durchführung eines Praktikums oder Freiwilligenarbeit im Ausland praktizierten Sprachen im Rahmen der langfristigen Mobilitätsaktivitäten zur Verfügung gestellt. Linguistische Unterstützung wird hauptsächlich online angeboten, wie z.B. E-Learning, welches Vorteile für das Lernen in Bezug auf Zugang und Flexibilität bietet. Im Programmführer heißt es auch, dass unter Leitaktion 2 strategische Partnerschaften im Bereich des Sprachunterrichts und des Lernens gefördert werden. Die Verfahren, mit dem Ziel, Sprachkenntnisse zu fördern, können beispielsweise Lehr- und Bewertungsmethoden, die Entwicklung pädagogischen Materials, Forschung‚ Computer-Assisted-Language-Learning‘ und unternehmerische Projekte mit fremden Sprachen umfassen.
Aus eigener Erfahrung mit dem Erasmus+ Programm, kann ich positive wie auch negative Fazite ziehen. Als ich im September 2014 nach Italien kam, hatte ich schon einige Vorkenntnisse in der Italienischen Sprache. Jedoch waren die nur ausreichend genug, um mich auf der Straße, in den Läden, und mit Freunden mehr oder weniger gut zu verständigen. Mir lag es natürlich auf dem Herzen, mich zu verbessern. Nicht nur, weil das komplette Studium auf Italienisch stattfinden würde, sondern auch weil ich sehr offen bin für verschiedene Kulturen, und ein sehr ambitioniertes Interesse habe, so viel von der Welt kennen zulernen wie es nur möglich ist. Also, nahm ich die Möglichkeit war, an dem vom Erasmus+ zur Verfügung gestellten Italienisch Sprachkurs teilzunehmen. Dies stellte sich nach der ersten Woche sofort als falsche Entscheidung heraus. Ich kam in eine Klasse mit überwiegend Spanischen Austauschstudenten, was ein großer Nachteil war, da diese ein sehr gutes Verständnis der Italienischen Sprache vorweisen konnten. Dies beruhte natürlich auf der Tatsache, dass Spanisch dem Italienischen sehr ähnelt und sie als Muttersprachler besser damit zurechtkamen, als ich, der zwar auch Spanisch-Kenntnisse besitzt, dem jedoch der Muttersprachen Aspekt fehlt. Durch diese erhöhte Präsenz Spanischer Studenten, muss sich der Professor wohl ermutigt gefühlt haben, den Unterricht schneller und schwerer zu gestalten, was er auf wiederholten Widerspruch meinerseits trotzdem fortführte. Nach einer Woche hatte ich genug, und war gezwungen, mir einen privaten Sprachkurs in der Stadt zu suchen, welcher natürlich auch mit steigenden Kosten verbunden war. Hier habe ich dann die Chance bekommen, die Sprache in meinem Tempo zu lernen und zu meistern. Also kann ich sagen, dass in meinem Fall Erasmus+ Sprachkurse nicht effektiv genug sind, da sie individuelle Defizite missachten, und darauf beschränkt sind, der großen Studentenanzahl so schnell es geht, Sprach-Kenntnisse zu vermitteln.
Ich denke, dass in Zukunft durch Beispiele wie meins, das Erasmus+ Programm verändert werden muss und sich die EU-Offiziellen Reformen einfallen lassen müssen, um wirklich dafür zu sorgen, dass alle Studenten die gleichen Chancen haben eine Sprache zu erlernen. Wenn dies geschieht, sehe ich eine großartige Entwicklung für die Zukunft und Chancengleichheit für alle. In der Bildung und im Beruf.