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Auteur: Elena Maria PANDOLFI

Co-Auteur(s): Sabine CHRISTOPHER, University of Lugano, Switzerland Barbara SOMENZI, PH Zurich, Switzerland

Swiss multilingualism and receptive competences: the CIR project

Abstract/Résumé: This paper presents an ongoing joint project of the Institute of Multilingualism (Fribourg), the University of Bern and the Swiss Italian Linguistic Observatory. The project consists in developing a curriculum for teaching receptive skills in Italian to adults, designed for the specific context of quadrilingual Switzerland. The Swiss linguistic landscape is organized territorially, i.e. the four linguistic communities are de facto confined to four separate geographical regions. Each language is spoken almost exclusively in the corresponding linguistic area, whereas the other languages are present as non-native languages. Although the Swiss constitution and legislation impose the encouragement of national intercomprehension, language education policies envisage almost exclusively the majority languages German and French (as well as English). Italian, the third national language, is hardly taught outside its traditional territory of Canton Ticino and part of Grisons. Swiss multilingualism has proved to be an asset from various perspectives (economical, social, cultural etc.), but it can and must be enhanced as far as minority language competences are concerned. The CIR project, together with other initiatives, represent important instruments for improving multilingual skills based on mutual understanding (cf. Berthele/Lambelet, 2009). Receptive language skills facilitate effective communicative interaction between speakers of different languages, since everyone speaks their own language, while understanding the other’s. In the case of Italian in Switzerland, the learning effort is reduced to a minimum, because the acquisition of receptive skills relies to a large extent on knowledge already present in the repertoire due to lexical and structural similarities between genealogically related languages (cf. Giudicetti et al. 2002; Klein, 2002; Dabene, 2003). The CIR project develops teaching materials for self- and/or guided learning, enabling adults, who are either native speakers of French, or have a good knowledge of French (either of which is the case in Switzerland). Cited References Berthele, R./ Lambelet, A. 2009, Approche empirique de l’intercompréhension: répertoires, processus et résultats, Lidil, 39. URL: Dabene, L. 2003, Galatea Italien: CDrom d’entrâinement à la compréhension des langues romanes, Chambéry, Géneration 5. Giudicetti, G. et al. 2002, EuroComRom - I sette setacci: Impara a leggere le lingue romanze!, Aachen, Shaker (Editiones EuroCom vol. 4). Klein, H. 2002, Das Französische: die optimale Brücke zum Leseverstehen romanischer Sprachen in: fh 33. 34-46.