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Materials of the CONFERENCE ON EUROLINGUISTICS “EUROPEAN PHILOLOGY AND SOCIETAL ISSUES” at VHS Donauwörth, Germany,29 september - 1 october 2017.

Eurolinguistics, as Norbert Reiter (who coined the term (Reiter 1991) defines it, is the search for the commonalities among European languages, which will in part also require a discipline-specific methodology. The author of this report has felt the call to pursue this search for over ten years now (cf., e.g. Grzega 2012a, 2012b & 2013), and so has the Eurolinguistic project “Innovative Europäische Sprachlehre (InES)” (‘Innovative European Language Teaching’). The InES project is located at Volkshochschule Donauwörth (VHS Donauwörth). A German Volkshochschule is an institution for adult further training. The InES project falls within applied linguistics and it intends to address the general public. It rests on two main pillars: (1) The first pillar consists in developing, testing, and offering more efficient ways toward foreign language competence, especially as a beginner, such as: (a) Basic Global English (cf., which provides 20 to 25 hours (in total) from 0 to at least the A2 level of the CEFRL (Common European Framework Reference for Languages); (b) the Language Workout method in the form of SprachFitnessStudios ‘LanguageGyms’, providing important communicative bricks on European languages for homogeneous learner groups in just one day (cf. Grzega/ Hanusch/Sand 2014); (c) the Sprach-Not-Arzt model ‘Language Emergency Doctor’ for heterogeneous learner groups from all over the world so that they can acquire basic knowledge of a European language in just three days (here, German) (cf.; (d) the Alphabet-Not-Arzt ‘Alphabet Emergency Doctor’ for those learners of German who are not familiar with the Latin alphabet yet (cf.; (e) new ways of training communicative competence at the intermediate level. (2) The second pillar consists in developing, testing and offering more efficient ways toward native language competence, especially regarding a better understanding of the interconnection between language, thought and action, such as: (a) Ort-und- Wort-Wanderung ‘Town and Tongue Tour’, intended to learn European languages, which guides a group through the center of a European town, stopping at various spots, discussing the landmarks, and illustrating what the designations tell us about Europe’s cultural history; (b) “edutaining” European quizzes which do not ask for detailed knowledge, but focus on larger lines, rules of thumb, or certain periods of European history, including additional audio and video material as well as questions; (c) interactive and “edutaining” lectures on the interconnection of language, thought and action in European languages, related to topics such as music, food, celebrations, the use of numbers, freedom, peace, ecology and economy; the lectures are spiced up with musical performances related to the topics; (d) interactive poster collections (with two posters for each aspect of a collection, one poster with questions and another poster with the corresponding keys/answers and further explanations, e.g. “Language and Peace” and “Language and Ecology”; (e) cultural training and political reflection by using poems that are intelligible all over Europe and by using musical renditions of some of these poems. In addition to on-site offers in Donauwörth and other parts of Germany, a few videos with examples have been put on YouTube (they are in German and can be found by inserting “Innovative Europäische Sprachlehre” into the search line). As part of the InES project, VHS project head Joachim Grzega, VHS Director Gudrun Reißer and VHS President Paul Soldner organized an international Eurolinguistics conference from 29 September to 1 October 2017 with the frame topic “European Philology and Societal Issues”. Most contributions were more or less directly linked to aspects of promoting peace. Participants came from Europe's west (Germany, Austria), the east (Hungary, Poland), the north (Sweden), and the south (Italy, Spain). Prof. Dr. Joachim Grzega (VHS Donauwörth & U Eichstätt-Ingolstadt) gave a talk entitled “Qualitative and Quantitative Comments on Peace and War from a Eurolinguistic Perspective”. An quantitative analysis of newspaper magazines from Germany, France, the UK and Spain revealed the high frequence of violence-shaped headlines. Other analyses showed that military expenditure is lower in countries in which ‘peaceful’ is also a regular word for ‘calm’, higher in countries where the words for ‘loud’ and ‘strong, powerful’ are the same, and positively correlated with the prominence of violence in the national anthems. Prof. Wolfgang Dietrich (U Innsbruck, UNESCO Chair of Peace Studies) presented “Interpretations of the Many Peaces in History and Culture”. He demonstrated how differently peace can be seen and how this can be included in peace trainings, capturing the various types of view under the categories energetic peaces, moral peaces, modern peaces, postmodern peaces and transrational peaces [sic!] (cf. also Dietrich 2012). Dr. Bea Klüsener (VHS Wuppertal & U Eichstätt-Ingolstadt) illustrated the cultural and lexemic heritage of “120 Years of Dracula - Vampires and Other Blood-Suckers in European Literary and Non-Literary Discourse”. She gave examples of how societies have often been comparing certain social groups to animals in a negative way, down to the present day. Marlene Herrschaft-Iden M.A. (U Passau) analyzed “The Notion of Europe in British Parliamentary Discourse” and gave evidence that Europe has, on the one hand, been associated with democracy, freedom and open markets as positive aspects, but at the same time has been receiving negative criticism with respect to actual policies (especially on the side of the conservative party). Prof. Dr. Magdalena Szulc (U Lublin) introduced “EUROJOS: A Project for Developing Cognitive Definitions of Selected Notions Across Europe (Ein Projekt zur Erschaffung von kognitiver Definition bestimmter Begriffe im europäischen Vergleich)”. Resorting to the notions of FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY, she showed how an international team of researchers has been able to detect connotative differences by means of a survey and the use of lexicographical sources and text corpora. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Pöll (U Salzburg) gave a talk entitled “Some Comments on Pluricentric Languages in Europe”. Pluricentrism can be understood as a purely descriptive concept, or as a political concept supporting measures that make a speech community distributed over more than one country (such as the case of France,, England, Germany and Spain) accept the co-existence of several standard norms. Prof. Dr. Rosa Maria Calafat Vila (U Palma) talked about “European Minority Languages: Text and Context - Attitudes of Speakers (Lenguas minorizadas europeas: texto y contexto - actitudes lingüísticas del hablante)”. Based on earlier research (Calafat 2010), she showed how today some minority languages are in a position to overcome the depreciation of some legal contexts to which they have been submitted, such as the Catalan language community, which has proven how planning new cultural and linguistic habits, fomented by governmental resources, modifies speakers’ behaviours using tools that provide them with linguistic security. Assis.Prof. Dr. Andrea Reményi (U Budapest-Piliscsaba) presented her ideas on “EU Integration Through a Possible New (Language) Teacher Exchange Programme”. She reported on how and why programs that have been offered by the EU so far have been only scarcely used, and gave some ideas on how this can be changed, particularly through a more structured support to make stays fruitful for teachers, school and students of the host and base school alike. Prof. Dr. Manuela Cipri (U Rome-La Sapienza) illustrated “Gender Stereotypes in European Culture (Stereotipi di genere nella cultura europea)”; she brought together observations from linguistics, everyday semiotics, and arts. Finally, Joachim Grzega and Bea Klüsener presented “New Ideas for Testing and Training Communicative Competence”, such as creating sentences according to a given structure with the core words -all starting with the same letter-, having learners complete texts where the second half of certain words has been deleted (similar to C-tests) and preparing for role-plays with a combination of model conversation bricks and pictures for variants of certain slots. As the transfer of academic results to general society is important in the InES project, these participants also presented short versions of their findings in a 2-hour event for a general public. These presentations triggered a number of interesting questions from, and discussion with, the lay audience. In addition, two participants joined the academic part via Skype. Prof. Dr. Laura Ferrarotti (U Rome-La Sapienza) talked about “English in the Linguistic Landscape and Its Implications for Teaching”, showing how shop signs in Europe can be used as material for academic sociolinguistic research training courses , as well as for language competence courses in native-speaker English and English as a lingua franca. Dr. Beyza Björkman (U Stockholm) summarized research on “English as a European Business Lingua Franca”. In particular, she pointed out the high degree of interactional and pragmatic competence of non-native speakers of English in comparison to that of native speakers. Conference entertainment (or rather “edutainment”) included a language-related European tour through Donauwörth and the presentation of the following new Eurolinguistic publications: ♦ European Quiz Book and the German version Europa-Quiz-Buch (Grzega 2017a , Grzega 2017b) (in which the questions include recurring principles in European history) ♦ Eu ropoesia (Grzega 2017c) (a collection of poems in which Grzega put together morphemes, lexemes and collections that are intelligible to all or a large part of Europeans; some poems are just for fun, some were created for social criticism) ♦ Wohlstand durch Wortschatz? Wie Wörter die Leistung europäischer Lände r prägen und uns Chancen zu Besserem bieten (Grzega 2017d) (‘Wealth Through Words? How Words Coin the Performance of European Countries and Offer Chances for Something Better’) All four books are available directly via the publisher or through bookstores. Some of the conference contributions have been published in vol. 14 of the Journal for EuroLinguistiX ( Photo: Presenting the results of their European studies at a well-received event for a general audience (from left to right): Rosa Calafat, Wolfgang Dietrich, Manuela Cipri, Bernhard Pöll, Andrea Reményi, Magdalena Szulc, Marlene Herrschaft-Iden, Bea Klüsener, Joachim Grzega

Joachim Grzega

University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany)

Dr. JOACHIM GRZEGA, born in 1971, is Associate Professor at the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany) and currently head of the project “Innovative Europäische Sprachlehre (InES) ‘Innovative European Language Teaching’” at Volkshochschule (VHS) Donauwörth. He held interim and guest professorships at the universities of Münster, Bayreuth, Erfurt, Freiburg and Budapest. Among his research interests are Eurolinguistics (that is the search for the commonalities between European languages), the interplay of language/thought/action (particularly concerning economic aspects), expertlayperson communication, intercultural communication, the model Lernen durch Lehren (‘Learning by Teaching’), and teaching European languages to beginners. He wrote numerous books and articles. His website:

  • Calafat, Rosa (2010). Per a un ús ètic del llenguatge, Barcelona: Angle editorial.
  • Dietrich, Wolfgang (2012). Interpretations of Peace in History and Cuture, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Grzega, Joachim (2012a). Developing Europragmatics - Food for a Eurolinguistic Stepchild, Journal for EuroLinguistiX, 9: 11-50.
  • Grzega, Joachim (2012b). Europas Sprachen und Kulturen im Wandel der Zeit: Eine Entdeckungsreise, Tübingen: Stauffenburg.
  • Grzega, Joachim (2013). Studies in Europragmatics: Some Theoretical Foundations and Practical Implications, [Eurolinguistische Arbeiten 7], Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Grzega, Joachim (2017a). Europa-Quiz-Buch: Kulturgeschichtliche Fragen und Faustregeln für mehr Europa-Verständnis, [ASEcoLi Publications by the Academy for SocioEconomic Linguistics 9], Berlin: epubli.
  • Grzega, Joachim (2017b). European Quiz Book: Q’s and Cues for a Better Understanding of Europe, [ASEcoLi Publications by the Academy for SocioEconomic Linguistics 11], Berlin: epubli.
  • Grzega, Joachim (2017c). Europoesia, Berlin: epubli.
  • Grzega, Joachim (2017d). Wohlstand durch Wortschatz? Wie Wörter die Leistung europäischer Länder prägen und uns Chancen zu Besserem bieten, [ASEcoLi Publications by the Academy for Socio- Economic Linguistics 10], Berlin: epubli.
  • Grzega, Joachim, Hanusch, Nora, Sand, Claudia (2014). “Quantitative Ergebnisse zur Sprachworkout- Methode”. Journal for EuroLinguistiX 11 (2014): 90-164.
  • Reiter, Norbert (1991). Ist Eurolinguistik Gotteslästerung?, in: Feldbusch, Elisabeth et al. (eds.), Neue Fragen der Linguistik: Akten des 25. Linguistischen Kolloquiums Paderborn 1990, 109-113, [Linguistische Arbeiten 270], Tübingen: Niemeyer.


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Copyright (c) 2018 Grzega J.

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