Category Archives: Resources for language study

Happy (belated) European Day of Languages 2022!

26th September marks the European Day of Languages, an event which has been celebrated every year since 2001 by the Council of Europe and European Commission.

Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

The day is designed to celebrate and promote linguistic and cultural diversity across Europe, a continent which is home to 24 official languages, but in which over 200 languages are actually spoken!

The European Centre for Modern Languages (Council of Europe) have put together some fantastic resources for the occasion, which can be used in the classroom, at home, or just for personal enjoyment! These range from posters to challenges to jokes and quotes. You can have a look for yourself here.

We particularly love these posters which show some amazing facts about languages in Europe and across the world! They are also available in various languages at the link above.

Taken from the ECML website – download your own here!

What will you do to celebrate European Day of Languages 2022? You could:

  • Watch a foreign-language film (with subtitles)
  • Read a book or article in a foreign language or in translation
  • Learn a few phrases of a new language
  • Send a message to a friend in another language and see how they respond!
  • Try/cook some food from another culture that has always intrigued you
  • Have a look at the resources we’ve linked to above!

Happy celebrating! Bonne fêtes! ¡Felices Fiestas! Schöne Ferien!

DANTE700 COMPETITION

Did you know that 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Italian poet, Dante Alighieri? In celebration of this anniversary, the University of Oxford is delighted to launch the Dante700 Competition for primary and secondary school pupils.

Portrait of Dante.
Sandro Botticelli, ‘Portrait of Dante’ (1350-1375)

Who was Dante Alighieri?

Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 in Florence and died in 1321 in Ravenna. He is most famous for his poetry but he also wrote about the Italian language, politics, and philosophy.

The Commedia (Comedy) is Dante’s most famous poem. It is a long, epic poem in medieval Italian in which Dante describes his three-part journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise accompanied by three guides.  The poem is made up of 100 canti  (songs) in total across the three sections.

Dante’s poetry (especially the Commedia) was extremely influential for European literature and art. Many famous writers and poets were inspired by his writing, from medieval writers like Geoffrey Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio, to modernist writers like T.S. Eliot and Samuel Beckett.

Dante700 Competition

Many students in the UK may never have heard of Dante or The Comedy. The aim of this competition is to introduce Dante and his work to students of all ages in a fun and engaging way.

To enter, students can submit a written piece or an artistic response to any of the categories included in the resource packs. They can also submit an ‘open response’, but this must be clearly linked to Dante’s work. Winning entries will be included in an online anthology and will win book tokens. 

Students and parents can browse the resources for themselves, and teachers can use the lesson resources available to introduce the Italian poet to their classes.

The closing date for entries is 29th April 2022. Visit the competition website to access further information and resources. Entrants can submit their work here.  

Buona fortuna!

Dante700 Competition logo

New Resources for Sixth-Form Language Learners

On Tuesday 12 January 2021 the Faculty hosted our first virtual literature masterclass for sixth-form students. The event usually takes place in Oxford each January but, as with most things this academic year, it has been necessary to move it online. We were joined by around 80 Year 12 and 13 students from nine different schools; colleagues led eleven parallel workshop sessions, each focusing on a different set text from the French, Spanish, or German A level curriculum. Participants were able to get a flavour of how tutorial teaching works, and to get to grips with some in-depth literary analysis. The virtual format enables us to broaden our geographical reach, and we hope to be able to offer similar sessions to more schools over the course of the year.

We’ve also begun producing a series of short videos focusing on particular literary techniques. You can find these over on our YouTube channel, on the playlist titled ‘Literary Masterclass for Sixth-Formers’. To date we have videos for French on ‘Perspective’, ‘Theatricality’, ‘Time and Tense’, and ‘Lexis and Imagery’, and a video for German on ‘Perspective’. Over time we hope to add more to the collection, with videos for Spanish learners as well as more for those studying German. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive a notification when we upload a new video!