The Mannheim/Florence Recommendations for Promoting European Standard (or National) Languages
Current economic and social changes affect the standard/national/official European languages: those language varieties which are used in their respective countries as official languages and are taught and studied in their educational institutions. These languages guarantee the widest range of linguistic opportunity within their geographical and social scope and reinforce the sense of cultural identity between speakers. They are also recognized internationally as standards. European integration represents both a challenge and an opportunity for measures promoting these languages. With the maintenance of linguistic diversity as well as the development and adjustment of languages to the requirements of the modern world, the cultural wealth of Europe as a basis for a European identity will be retained.
The following recommendations, which were prepared by members of central institutions for language research and language planning from several states of the European Union, embody the principles set out in the treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam for the multilingual and culturally diverse development of the European Union.
The teaching of proficiency in the use of the standard /national / official language is an important function of schools and other educational institutions. The role of the media and of official discourse is also recognized as being significant in the choice of linguistic models presented to speakers of a language.
The acquisition of oral and written competence is the goal of native-language instruction. It helps to facilitate full social integration. Therefore, instruction in the standard /national / official language or languages of a country should be required as a main subject at all class levels.
Foreign-language instruction should contribute to the preservation of European linguistic diversity. It should begin at the very latest in primary school and should adopt uniform European performance standards. The goal is oral and written proficiency in at least two European foreign languages and the acquisition of comprehension skills in additional European languages. The teaching of neighbouring languages should be encouraged.
The study of ancient languages and their associated cultures is encouraged, particularly because of their contribution to enriching the languages and culture of modern-day Europe.
Non-native speakers should be supported in their efforts to learn the standard language of the country in which they reside. Both children and adults should have access to appropriate and adequate language instruction. Their right to maintain their own first language remains unaffected.
The teaching of both language and literature should include the critical analysis of linguistic standards and usage, as well as comparative and historical language study. The purpose of this is to develop linguistic awareness and to stimulate reflection over the universality and variety of language.
Opportunities for the exchange of students and of instructors within Europe should be fostered, and the associated administrative procedures should be simplified.
Research into first-language and foreign-language teaching should take advantage of the opportunities offered by European cooperation.
Each standard /national / official language requires careful scientific description. In addition, the degree to which a language is guided or alternatively monitored by linguistic institutions varies from country to country within Europe. The language academies and comparable linguistic institutes which participate in this work should given the opportunity to cooperate at the European level.
A permanent council should be formed by the central language institutions of the European states. It should facilitate the exchange of information about the objectives and methods of language politics and should stimulate and promote common linguistic research projects.
The states of the European Union are invited to receive these recommendations and to consider them within the context of their language strategies in order to promote the standard /national / official European languages and to encourage a multilingual Europe.