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Academic, cultural and social growth through the language of websites: A challenge for European University Language Centres

Carmen Argondizzo, Anna Maria De Bartolo, Alessandra Fazio, Jean M. Jimenez and Ida Ruffolo

Abstract

At the start of 2000 a new scenario emerged in Europe thanks to the Council of Europe and the European Commission who, in support of the Bologna Process (1999), laid the foundations for disseminating the value of multilingualism and multiculturalism. The aim was to create a framework of actions to make citizens more aware of respecting diversity in languages and cultures and pave the way for integrating the varied geographical realities present in Europe. Language instruction was a priority identified as a tool for developing socio-cultural awareness and, within this scenario, universities played a key role. In particular, University Language Laboratories, previously regarded as language learning resources for small numbers of students, became University Language Centres, gaining status as fully-fledged academic places for the dissemination of multilingualism and multiculturalism, where intercultural communication, learning by doing, autonomous language learning, self-assessment and European Language Portfolios, communicative strategies and social inclusion, creativity and knowledge-sharing became key concepts to be internalised and implemented in academic communities. Indeed, the enhancement of cultural and democratic growth among young learners and citizens, in general, assumed paramount importance. The impact of the Lifelong Learning and Erasmus programs, strongly encouraged by the Bologna Accords, and later the internationalization process of European universities, further strengthened the need to promote linguistic, social and cultural growth in academic societies. Based on these premises, the purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it will discuss the importance of investigating how University Language Centres present the aforementioned concepts through their actions, focussing principally on the language used on their websites. Secondly, it will propose a potential project framework in which the CercleS community will be invited to share ideas and experiential knowledge in representing itself and its mission to potential users.


Corresponding author: Carmen Argondizzo, Università della Calabria, Arcavacata, Italy, E-mail:

  1. Author contribution: Carmen Argondizzo Introduction and state of the art, Potential research objectives, Conclusions: Prospective remarks and future perspectives; Anna Maria De Bartolo Project procedure and research design; Alessandra Fazio Methodology and research instruments: Planned discourse and multimodal analysis of EULC websites; Jean M. Jimenez Methodology and research instruments: Identification of users’ perspectives; Ida Ruffolo Expected results. The authors would like to thank Gillian Mansfield for her precious suggestions in developing a research-oriented approach.

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Published Online: 2021-02-03
Published in Print: 2020-12-16

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