European multilingualism, "multicompetence" and foreign language education

Mitchell, Rosamond, DalNegro, Silvia and Ioannidou, Elena (2012) European multilingualism, "multicompetence" and foreign language education. In, Studer, Patrick and Werlen, Iwar (eds.) Linguistic diversity in Europe: Current trends and discourses. Berlin, DE, De Gruyter Mouton, 203-232. (Contributions to the Sociology of Language [CSL], 97).


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This chapter first of all (Section 1) introduces the concept of “multicompetence” as it has been interpreted and elaborated by the team to illuminate language education practices in formal educational contexts. In Section 2, the chapter reviews briefly the stated goals of contemporary language education policies in the European context, pointing out some tensions between various formulations of “mulitilingualism” and “plurilingualism”, and highlighting in particular the normative and discrete conceptualisations of language competence which underlie historical educational policy. Section 3 explores the expressed attitudes of student participants towards contemporary societal multilingualism and the expansion of their personal language repertoires (i.e. their language “representations”: Gueunier 2003). In Section 4 the conceptualisations of language competence and multilingualism which prevail in contemporary second/ foreign language classrooms are briefly examined. The concluding section draws together the empirical findings on both attitudes and practices, and evaluates the relevance of multicompetence as a goal for current educational practice.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 9783110270839 (hardback)
9783110270884 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Keywords: sociolinguistics, language contact, language planning, language policy, multilingualism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Modern Languages
ePrint ID: 190155
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2012Published
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2011 09:31
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:40

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