Guus Extra and Kutlay Yagmur coordinated research conducted as part of Language Rich Europe project. Tilburg University research team developed draft indicators based on European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) resolutions, conventions and recommendations to examine language policies and practices in 25 countries and regions, constructing and administering the research questionnaire among our partner network, processing and analysing the data, and writing up the cross-national outcomes of data collection. Our research partners in each country/region have complemented the data collected with their own analysis of the findings, supported by examples of good practice and promising initiatives. The overall objectives of Language Rich Europe, which is co-funded by the British Council and European Commission, are:
■ to facilitate the exchange of good practice in promoting intercultural dialogue and social inclusion through language teaching and learning
■ to promote European co-operation in developing language policies and practices across several education sectors and broader society
■ to raise awareness of the European Union and Council of Europe recommendations for promoting language learning and linguistic diversity across Europe.
The project findings highlight a multitude of interesting trends in policies and practices for multilingualism in the European context. While some countries/regions have highly developed policies and practices in specific domains, others need to develop further if they wish to align themselves more closely with European recommendations and create more language-rich societies. Of all the language domains researched, it is in primary and secondary education where most efforts are being made to promote multi/plurilingualism. However, in early language learning, and in the sectors of further and higher education, the media, public services and spaces and business, the LRE research findings suggest that the officially declared commitment of European countries/regions to support multi/plurilingualism still needs to be turned into action plans and practices at the local and institutional level. Of all the non-national language varieties researched, immigrant languages are the least recognised, protected and/or promoted, in spite of all affirmative action at the European level. More attention to languages other than national ones would allow European cities and enterprises to become more inclusive in the context of increasing mobility and migration in Europe.