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Monolingualism – Bilingualism – Multilingualism

The Teacher's Perspective


Hanna Komorowska and Jarosław Krajka

The book brings together sociolinguistic, neurolinguistic, and educational perspectives on language acquisition and learning in the classroom and at home. First and second language acquisition studies, classroom research findings, Polish, European and international legislation, as well as statistical reports on foreign language learning and teaching show how learners proceed from monolingual to bilingual or plurilingual competence. The book provides an overview of the major issues in the field from the teacher’s perspective, equipping teachers with theoretical underpinnings related to language education, and inviting reflection on individual choices in promoting bi- and multilingualism.

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5. Promoting multilingualism


5. Promoting multilingualism

Both individual and societal multilingualism is promoted by important international institutions, such as the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This chapter will focus on the activity of institutions mainly interested in the role of language education in economics and politics, i.e. of the Council of Europe and the European Union.

The policy of ‘full’ multilingualism is best implemented at the level of the working languages of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice (however, in external communication only, with the internal language being French – de Cillia and Busch 2006). On the other hand, in the European Council and Commission, most negotiations are conducted in English rather than German. As reported by Truchot (2001, after de Cillia and Busch 2006), in 1986 58 % of the Commission’s major texts were produced in French, 26 % in English, 11 % in German and 5 % in other languages, while the 1997 figures were as follows: English – 45.4 %, French – 40.4 %, German – 5 %, other languages – 9.2 %.

5.1. Multilingualism in European language policy

The main support for multilingualism comes from the Council of Europe (CoE), an institution embracing 47 member states, which was founded in 1949 and whose areas of activity include human rights, democracy and the rule...

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