Pusan University of Foreign Studies
<> Almost everyone agrees that it is a great advantage to speak more than one language.
<> Billions of dollars are spent on learning languages in classrooms. It doesn't work very well. Why?
<> In many counties it is often socially unacceptable to speak a foreign language except with a foreigner.
<> This is perhaps the greatest hidden barrier to foreign language learning throughout the world.
<> The Language Practice Movement is a public agreement by members to accept communication in other languages.
<> Here is how it works : members wear a small colour patch on their clothing which shows which languages and which levels of language they are willing to try using anywhere, with anyone. Levels go from -1 ('baby') to 5 (native speaker). For example, the person below is saying that they are native speakers of Korean, but will have a go at English and Japanese at low levels :
<> How practical is this idea? It is very practical. However, it does require tolerance and willingness to forego ideas of 'language purity'. For many, this is a big ask. Prejudice about the nature of languages is deeply ingrained. However, the Language Practice Movement starts from the idea that enough people now live in a global village to make free language switching work. Much of what we say is not essential (listen to mobile phone chatter!), so there is nothing to really stop us from some 'code switching' or 'code mixing' when both speakers agree.