Topic 1: Visualizing Language Repertoires
The activities in this section allow students to creatively visualize and contemplate their multilingualism. They can depict and discuss the meaning and impact of their language repertoires with individually drawn language portraits carried out in the form of language zoos or – landscapes and with language trees created together as a group. Moreover, a discussion of the language portraits of multilingual stars offers a link to composing their own language biographies.
Topic 2: Discovering the many forms of communication
The activities in this section should motivate students to learn about other or new forms of communication, to recognize the diversity of language. Even when we are silent we are communicating, through our clothes, or body language or through the way we behave and act towards other people. There are also many forms of communication in our surroundings. Language is not confined to the communication through words, but can be any kind of communication.
Topic 3: Exploring alphabets
This activity box introduces students to the most commonly known writing systems in the world. Their origins and history are as important as curiosities and myths surrounding the individual systems. Together students go on a journey, encountering writing systems that are very different from each other and getting to know them: from Chinese ideograms to Egyptian hieroglyphics. Who knows, perhaps they will even try to develop their own new alphabet!
Topic 4: Exploring the history of words
Activity box 4 invites students to become linguists, investigating the exciting linguistic story of the migration of words and phrases. Words such as coffee or giraffe have their origins in the Arabic languages, terms such as window or market come from Latin. English, however, is not the only language that has adopted words over the centuries. In other languages too, certain words survive as “foreign words”, or as “loanwords” assimilated and appropriated to the pronunciation and spelling of the new language.
Determining the origin of words is called etymology. The following selection of activities allows us to see how close etymology can be to everyday life.
Topic 5: The language learning experience
Students can expand their linguistic awareness through exploring their language learning experiences, and use these to help consider their future language careers. Why is it important to learn languages? What is the best way to learn a language? Is the human brain that limited in its capability to learn new languages? This activity box tries to answer these questions, and more.
Topic 6: Languages in danger
Students discover that linguistic diversity in Europe is much more comprehensive and more complex than we perceive it to be. Apart from the “big” languages spoken by millions of people, there are also “little” languages spoken by far fewer people that are often struggling to survive. Students go on a journey through Europe, introducing them to and exploring lesser known languages and discussing how and why it is necessary to save these languages from extinction.
- Quiz: How much do you know about Europe’s linguistic variety? (optional)
- Little languages, big languages – all equal languages. Which languages are spoken where in Europe?
- Four questions, many ideas!
- Saving our speech!
English pdf coming soon.