THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
Walking through a new city of a country unknown to you often offers you the chance to meet new people, get acquainted with new customs and ways of living, taste new flavours and learn about a new language. City signs travel you through the language and history of the city you are visiting and become your guiding tools. They invite you to become an explorer of the city’s language and become familiar with the city’s history, heritage and people. City signs can be a street name, local shops and eating places, heritage sites and important people, or any symbol that helps you ‘feel’ the city and its atmosphere.
‘Signs in the City’ project seeks to promote languages through city signs.
- To promote 5 languages (Bulgarian, Greek, Polish, Spanish and Maltese) through visual representations of the city (such as high street signs, heritage places, graffiti, traffic signs, ads and posters, restaurant menus etc);
- To raise interest in study of new, less widely and indeed ‘strange looking’ languages;
- To satisfy basic linguistic needs that result from increased mobility, tourism, intercultural communication and business relationships at European level;
- To contribute to tourism by raising interest and attracting visitors;
- To present to local authorities innovative ideas about how to promote their languages through their cities.
The selected methodology of activities implementation combines methods for
creation of basic linguistic, socio-linguistic and pragmatic competencies and
communication skills through user-friendly and attractive language learning methods
and materials with particular attention to the intercultural understanding.
The approach is to use visual rather than audio means of language promotion.
The focus is on language awareness rather than language learning. The accent is
given to the development of Communicative Competences at very basic level, which
is needed for managing everyday situation while being in a foreign country.
Users are not expected to ‘learn’ the language at all, they are expected to understand linguistic diversity and compare the city’s language with their own especially where the alphabets and linguistic families are very different.
The targeted audiences are adults and mainly tourists.
- Signs in the City phrase books - one for each target language. The books include: information about the respective alphabet, information about the specific language, a code of reading each language and narrative about the city. Each city phrase book includes over 60 photos selected supported by survival vocabulary for every day situations.
- Interactive Signs in the City CD-Rom - one for each language and city, teaching to identify the language of the city and to try to read and understand (voice pronunciation in target languages is included)
- Documentary film "Signs in the City - 5 to learn" - broadcasted 15 times on the European Channel for Education and Training - ECET TV
- Website (www.first.signsinthecity.net)
- Part of the exhibition “Signs in the city” was exhibited in the building of the GD “Education and Culture” in Brussels
According to the project promoter, Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), there were 2 reasons for applying for the Label:
- To ensure better promotion of the project and its findings and products
- To bring the methodology into life by valorization and transfer of its results.
They expected that through the award their project and the language learning method would gain better popularity.
The process for application for the Label was based on the instruction of the National Agency.
The following activities took place after receiving the Label award:
- Participation in Language show in London
- Participation in Language conference and an event for granting the Sprachspiegel award for best language practices in German language.
The initial expectations were met. The project gained better popularity.
CCI's recommendations for future applicants for the European Language Label include:
- Developing an original idea
- Having a clear target
- Adapting the idea to the needs and interests of the target
- Using contemporary technologies and modern methods
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The "Signs in the City" project is in consistency with the European policies in the field of language learning because it's aimed at promotion of new approaches to language teaching and learning, promotion of multilingualism as well as promotion of the development of teaching material for the learning of less widely spoken languages
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
The "Signs in the City" project received the European Language Label award in 2008 together with the project "SHOPLANG - The Shopping Language Game". The decision for selecting 2 projects was based on the evaluation that both of them addressed greatly the published national and European priorities and the field and their applications showed innovation and high-quality results in the area of promotion of less widely used and taught European languages.
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