History of treffpunkt sprachen
The previous treffpunkt sprachen, which was established in 2001 as a language centre to offer students foreign language courses, is now converted into a centre for language, plurilingualism and didactics, consisting of two sub-sections: Teaching and Research. These two sections support, enhance and strengthen each other mutually. Seeing as the discussion of language-related issues in teaching, language didactics, language teaching research as well as language documentation has had a long tradition at the University of Graz, these fields have been combined to use their synergy potentials more effectively. Research activities in these fields have been bundled and the new centre guarantees the exchange of knowledge and increased cooperation between departments and faculties.
The following initiatives serve as the basis of the work of the centre and deserve special mention:
Activities in the area of language policy, language documentation, minority languages etc.
- ENLU – promotion of language policy at universities
- Austrian member of COMEX of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe
- Consultant to the Volksgruppenförderung (advisory body for the promotion of ethnic minorities) of the Federal Chancellery of Austria; the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture; the Council of Europe – Language Policy Division; the Austrian UNESCO Commission etc.
- ADABA – Austrian pronunciation dictionary
- WÖRTERWELT – corpus-based polyglot dictionary
- BADIP – corpora for spoken Italian
- Development of Slavic databases
- TERMITAT – a terminological database
- [Romani] Project (since 1993) development of generic language tools, among other things
- Codification and didactical preparation of Austrian varieties of Romani
- ROMLEX – multilingual and multidialectal online dictionary
- ROMTEX – multidialectal textual corpus.
Activities in the area of language teaching research and language didactics
- Development of didactic methods ― these should guarantee both the integration of individual languages as well as their speakers on as many levels of the education system as possible and contribute to the preservation of individual and collective plurilingualism as well as its development as a resource).
- Didactic issues concerning the integration of European standards (CEFR, ELP), educational standards, the integration of new media, quality issues, questions of assessment and evaluation, plurilingual scenarios in teaching, teacher training and continuing education etc.
- Management of international projects such as QUALIROM, Education of Roma Children in Europe
- Management of national projects such as SprachKompetenzProfil (LanguageCompetenceProfile)
- Collaboration on national projects such as the University Dissemination of the Findings of the European Centre for Modern Languages, Quality Standards at University Language Centres
- Participation in university cooperation projects such as the Language Server project, LAMM, the FAUVOT project
- Cooperation with universities and universities of teacher education
- Cooperation with the Austrian Society for the Didactics of Language Teaching
- Preparatory language courses
- Consultant to the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe.
As the University of Graz has recently taken steps to increase the quality of its teacher training programmes and language teaching in general, the founding of a centre for language teaching research, language didactics, language policy, and language documentation at the University of Graz can be seen as a unique opportunity to take advantage of the dynamic developments mentioned above, to expand on the success of previous work, to combine new initiatives, and thus make a significant contribution to exploiting the potential of plurilingualism in Austria.