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    Gazette 56

European Language Gazette no. 56

June  July 2021


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20th anniversary of the European Day of Languages


Preparations in full swing

It is difficult to believe that 20 years have now gone by since the inaugural European Day of Languages in 2002! With things starting to open up around Europe, we are optimistic that EDL will flourish again this year. Preparations for EDL 2021 are now in full swing.

If you are planning to organise an event this year, please remember to promote it via the events’ calendar on the EDL website and use the hashtags #coeEDL #20EDL or #happybirthdayEDL!


What is new in 2021?

A new secret agent’s language challenge app

Following the success of the language challenges handbook (now available in 29 languages) and a first version of an app last year, version ‘2.007’ of the app will be much more interactive, with budding secret agents able to compete with their counterparts. There are a series of levels to sort out the Inspector Gadgets from the true top agents!

A quiz currently being developed together with the European Commission will form part of this app. The new version will be available for download for both Android and Apple phones as well as for Chromebooks from early September.

A journey across Europe’s languages

This downloadable booklet seeks to encourage interest in Europe’s rich tapestry of languages from an early age. Children can accompany Lara on her journey to discover the different languages spoken across the continent. Sets of stickers and sound files covering the respective languages are also available for this resource which will be available in English in July with translations/adaptions into other languages following shortly afterwards: see https://edl.ecml.at/languagejourney.


20 years EDL

To celebrate this landmark, a series of features/initiatives will be made available on the EDL website over the course of the summer:

  • An EDL infographic for download with 20 facts you might not know about Europe’s languages (available in July).
  • Questions about languages you didn’t dare to ask: experts will respond to 20 questions (in a written or video format) which people might normally be hesitant to ask, such as – ‘do I really need grammar to learn a language?’ or ‘can someone really speak 30+ languages?’ (September).
  • A new poll to discover the most popular/effective methods for learning a language will be launched in July.

Looking for ideas of what to do on the Day?

  • An initiative for the Day: We are suggesting two challenges to celebrate the 20th anniversary that could be included within (almost) any event being organised (with further details to be posted in July on the homepage):
    • In how many different languages can you say/sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in 20 seconds?
    • To whet your appetite… Bake a cake for the 20th anniversary and/or help others by sending a recipe of your cake to create a multilingual recipe book.
  • As we are not over the pandemic yet, a list of (20!) ideas for organising events which respect social distancing will be unveiled in July.


  • EDL t-shirt design contest: this year’s winning design (of a plurilingual parrot!) for the European Day of Languages was made by Tímea Svetková from the Slovak Republic. The t-shirt is now available for sale online. Designs can already be submitted here for the 2022 edition of the Day (with the contest closing on 31 December 2021).
  • The most innovative European Day of Languages’ event was won in 2020 by Romania’s Școala Gimnazială nr.1 Unțeni, with the activity “A new language is a new life”. The competition, with a small reward, will be organised again for 2021 from 20 September to 20 October.
  • A poll on ‘the most effective ways to learn a language’ will be run on the EDL homepage – with the results to be announced on 24 September.

Order EDL promotional materials for your events!

Event organisers who enter their events in the EDL calendar can spice up their event with a range of promotional items from their National EDL Relay.

  • EDL wristbands made from fabric;
  • a special 20th anniversary ‘limited’ edition of ‘Talk to me’ stickers;
  • EDL language journey sheets of stickers linked to the booklet with ‘Hello’, ‘How are you?’, ‘Thank you’ in over 40 languages;
  • the ‘Write with me’ pencils in 7 different language sets and colours.

We hope that from among these resources and initiatives there will be something to help everyone to make it a very special day!


“Fostering digital citizenship through language education”


Join our webinar “Fostering digital citizenship through language education” on 22 June 2021!

The e-lang citizen project will offer a free bilingual (English and French) webinar on Tuesday 22 June 2021, from 17:00 – 18:15 (CEST).

  • What is a digital citizen?
  • How does digital citizenship education link up with language education?
  • What type of digital language tasks can support learners to become digital citizens?

If you have ever asked or tried to answer any of these questions, this webinar, which takes place within the activities of the current European Centre for Modern Languages’ project “Digital citizenship through language education” (e-lang citizen), will be of interest to you.

Primarily targeted at language teachers and teacher trainers, the webinar will propose a profile of a digital citizen as a user of languages and digital technology, based on the analysis of around one hundred recently published texts containing a definition of the “digital citizen” or identifying elements constituting digital citizenship. 

The links between digital citizenship education and language education – social interaction and communication skills, plurilingual competences and mediation – will be explored during the event.

Within the project, the coordinating team, from 5 different countries, aims to establish a database, providing concrete and practical learning activities and tasks for developing digital citizenship in the language classroom. The webinar will offer a look into the initial materials created. Participants will find also out how they can further engage with the project.

Please register here by 21 June 2021.


ECML programme developments 2020-2023 – “Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences”


Participate in a survey on the place of home languages at school available in 9 languages: open until the end of 2022

The RECOLANG team (Resources for assessing the home language competences of migrant pupils) is carrying out a European survey on the place of home languages at school, particularly within different education programmes or curricula involving migrant adolescents aged 11-18. This survey focuses on the practices of assessing home language skills and their role in different European education systems. The survey is made up of two complementary sections targeting different target audiences:

  • A section aimed at pupils aged between 11 and 18 (or their families), who are from a migrant background and with one or more home languages other than the language(s) of the school. This section is available in Arabic, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Persian (Dari/Farsi), Portuguese and Turkish: https://surveyforlearners.questionpro.com.
  • A section for schools and educational institutions, teaching and supervisory staff in schools, reception centres and organisations involved in initial and further professional development of teachers working with this age group (11-18 years). This section is available in English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Portuguese: https://enqueteinstitutionseducatives.questionpro.com.

The survey will be online until the end of 2022. More detailed information on the survey can be found on the ECML website.


“Enhancing language education in cross-border vocational education”: presented at EARLALL Conference (2 July 2021, 9:00-14:00 CEST, online)

Christina Reissner will present the ECML project “Enhancing language education in cross-border vocational education” (2020-2023) at the EARLALL Conference on Teaching methodologies for VET lessons: the CLIL approach.


“Mediation in Τeaching, Learning and Αssessment” (ME.T.L.A.): 1st international MiLLaT conference (online, 9 September 2021)

The Centre for Foreign Language Teaching, University of Warsaw, will hold the 1st (free) International MiLLaT Conference – “Mediation in Language Learning and Teaching” under the honorary patronage of the Polish Association of Modern Languages (PTN). The event is designed for language teachers, teacher trainers, educators, who are interested in mediation, mediation activities and strategies, multilingualism, innovative tasks in language education, technology-mediated teaching tools, and good practices in language learning. Its aim is to create a forum for discussions and to broaden the current perspectives on mediation, language learning, teaching, and developing modern materials and tools.

Maria Stathopoulou, Adjunct Lecturer at the Hellenic Open University and at the National Technical University of Athens, and coordinator of the ECML project “Mediation in Τeaching, Learning and Αssessment” (ME.T.L.A.) (2020-2021), will deliver a keynote speech at the event.


6th Saarbrücken International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching (27-29 October 2021, via Zoom)

Sarah Breslin, Executive Director of the ECML, will give a plenary talk on “Learning beyond boundaries: the ECML as transnational mediator”.

Abstract submission (until 30 June 2021) and free registration: online form.

Conference website


Just published! New ECML resources


Inventory of ICT tools and OERs: discover the latest resources!

The ECML inventory of freely available online tools and open educational resources for language teaching and learning currently contains 193 tools that have been evaluated with specific criteria in mind, such as the potential for achieving learning objectives, for adapting it to your teaching context, the potential for communication and collaboration amongst learners. New resources are continually added to the database. Discover the latest tools! Here are just a few examples to whet the appetite:


Publication quoting the work of the ECML


Formation en langues et littératie numérique en contextes ouverts – Une approche socio-interactionnelle

Bibliographical reference:
Caws Catherine, Hamel Marie-Josée, Janneau Catherine and Ollivier Christian (2021), Formation en langues et littératie numérique en contextes ouverts – Une approche socio-interactionnelle, Éditions des archives contemporaines, available at https://doi.org/10.17184/eac.9782813003911.

ECML resource quoted:
Ollivier Christian et al. (2018), Towards a socio-interactional approach to foster autonomy in language learners and users, Council of Europe (European Centre for Modern Languages), Graz, available at www.ecml.at/elang.


National developments


Austria: new EDL event padlet

European Day of Languages 2021: share your actions with the EDL event padlet

Would you like to find out more about the EDL in Austria, be up to date on events or order promotional material for your own event? Then have a look at the brand new EDL padlet, which has been developed by the Austrian Centre for Language Competence to keep you updated.

Join us and promote your EDL initiatives in Austria
Every contribution counts – together we can move the language world! The EDL event padlet offers you the opportunity to share your actions with others quickly and easily with just a few clicks!


Canada: return on the 2021 CCERBAL Conference

300 people participated in the CCERBAL online conference this year (29 April – 1st&nbps;May) whose theme was “Bilingualism and beyond: Advancing the thinking on pedagogies, policies and practices”. The next edition of this event is planned in 2023.
Watch the recordings of the some of the conferences on OLBI’s YouTube channel.


France: recent resources

Courriel européen des langues: coming soon!

Issue No. 45 (June 2021) will focus on the impact of Covid-19 on language education. It will be available here.

Sound atlas of regional languages

The Sound atlas of the regional languages contains 791 language recordings and their transcriptions of Aesop’s fable “The North wind and the sun”. The atlas was developed by three researchers from CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Paris-Saclay.

Modern Languages Week (17-21 May 2021)

The annual event offers a linguistic and cultural opening to pupils, encourages the practice of modern languages, federates and allows projects to be put forward. “Dare to speak languages, for the citizens of tomorrow” was the theme chosen for this year’s edition.

LISEO: latest newsletters of France Éducation International

LISEO is the documentary portal of France Education International (the national contact point for the ECML in France). It provides resources in the field of education, teaching and promotion of French around the world.

Recent publication: Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres, Dossier : l’oral dans l’éducation, no. 86, May 2021, coordination: Daniel Coste, Roger-François Gauthier.


Iceland: resources, conferences

Vigdís launches Lexía, a new Icelandic-French online dictionary

Lexía has been developed by two university institutions in Reykjavík: the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies (AMI) and the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages (VFI). Lexía is modelled on an another online dictionary based at AMI: ISLEX, a multilingual dictionary between Icelandic and six Scandinavian target languages. With 50 000 lemmas, Lexía’s vocabulary is mainly contemporary Icelandic but many words from the older stages of the language are also included.
The target groups are Icelanders who need to look up words in French, translators, learners and teachers of Icelandic in French speaking countries, and learners and teachers of French in Iceland.

Conference announcements

Nordic Intercultural Communication Conference: “Changing regional identities and intercultural communication” (Reykjavík, 25-27 November 2021)
More information

15th Conference on Nordic languages as a second language, NORDAND 15 (Reykjavík, 25-27 May 2022)
The conference covers Nordic languages as a second or a foreign language as well as plurilingualism in the Nordic countries.
More information


Professional Network Forum of the ECML


Forthcoming events of the Forum members

The Professional Network Forum of the ECML is comprised of international associations and institutions that share common values and have overlapping expertise in the field of language education and assessment. Under the auspices of the ECML, the members of the Forum share their know-how and work together on areas of common interest in the service of language education.




Eaquals celebrating 30 years

Eaquals 30th Anniversary Conference (21 October 2021, Belfast, United Kingdom)
The conference is open to all, both members and non-members, and provides a rich programme of professional development for centre owners, directors, academic managers, teacher trainers as well as researchers and teachers alike.
More information

“My Eaquals Memory”
Eaquals has invited members to contribute a short video sharing one of their personal memories of their time with Eaquals entitled “My Eaquals Memory”.

Eaquals webinars

The Eaquals webinar series offers monthly online training on a variety of topics within the language teaching sector relevant for language teachers, teacher trainers, academic managers and researchers. Check the calendar for the next webinars.


Multilingualism in Higher Education in Europe: ECSP online symposium (28-29 June 2021)

The event is hosted by the Department of Linguistics and the Centre for Multilingualism of the University of Konstanz, Germany, as well as by the European Reform University Alliance (ERUA) which is funded by the EU.
Members of the CURUM constituency of the ECSPM will discuss the issue of monolingualism and the role of English in Higher Education, linked to the internationalisation of universities. Invited speakers with research and academic experiences in Europe and other continents will present their views and research results regarding the monolingual ethos and colonisation of curricular knowledge in HE but will also move to constructive proposals.


Council of Europe developments


European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is the European convention for the protection and promotion of languages used by traditional minorities. Together with the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities it constitutes the Council of Europe's commitment to the protection of national minorities.

The application of the ECRML 2018-2020: 10th report of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

The report highlights the improvements that were made to the Charter’s monitoring mechanism in 2018 and implemented by the relevant stakeholders since then. In addition, it describes how the challenges raised in the context of the public health crisis have been addressed to promote the equal rights of speakers of languages traditionally spoken in Europe. It outlines what the Council of Europe has been doing to contribute to the development of anti-discrimination policies and practices in line with the standards of the Organisation.

Just published :
Promising practices for protecting and promoting minority languages – transfer of knowledge across Europe


Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture: two new portfolios

Two Portfolios of Competences for Democratic Culture (a standard version for children from approximately 10-11 years upwards and a version for young learners aged up to 10-11 years) have been published recently. Each version is accompanied by a guide for teachers. The Portfolios support learners in reflecting critically on their developing competences and in thinking about how they will develop their competences further. The Portfolios also provide evidence about a learner’s proficiency which may be used for assessment. They are intended for use in schools to help implement the Council of Europe’s Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture.


News from other organisations


Juvenes Translatores Award Ceremony on 18 June 2021

The 27 winners of Juvenes Translatores, the annual translation contest for schools organised by the European Commission, have been celebrated on 18 June.


Erasmus+ project “Global Citizenship and Multilingual Competences” (GCMC) (2020-2023)

The Erasmus+ project “Global Citizenship and Multilingual Competences” (GCMC) toolkit aims to provide online teacher development resources for secondary teachers of all subjects about how to integrate global citizenship goals and plurilingual pedagogies into their practices in a sustainable way. The project strategic partnership is composed of the Universität Graz (Austria), Newcastle University (UK), Fryske Akademy (the Netherlands), University of Bologna (Italy) and NEOSMART Digital (Germany).


V-PAL : recent videos

The V-PAL community has been developed by a partnership of six partners from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Romania and Cyprus, and is cofunded by the Erasmus+ Programme. The aim of V-PAL is to increase the quality of adult education language teaching by enhancing teachers’ opportunities for continuing education and creating professional development. The dedicated platform provides the opportunity to get inspiration for your language teaching, discuss and reflect on your own and other teachers’ practices, and share you own practice by video.

  • Latest videos (free registration): Using Padlet for an online reading circle; Mobil-bingo; Online collaboration with padlet; QR codes; Picture dictation; Disappearing lines: online; Online: What’s hiding?; Subjects for new videos?
  • Follow V-PAL on Facebook

School Education Gateway

Webinar recording on School education for traveller communities across Europe’ tomorrow (18 May 2021)


Mercator – European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning

Lastest newsletter issues: no. 172 (May) - no. 173 (June)


Cambridge University Press: Revitalizing endangered languages

The open access guidebook Revitalizing endangered languages: A practical guide provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages.


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