Applied English Linguistics (Kurt Kohn)
LinguaWeb for Small and Medium Enterprises
Leonardo da Vinci programme (European Union), 1999-2001
Business communication is embedded in local/regional contexts of business, society and culture. Being able to communicate in these contexts is an important condition for success in business co-operations across Europe. This applies in particular to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), as they are usually more deeply immersed in the local culture than globally operating companies.
Against this background, the LinguaWeb project developed an interactive learning platform for regional languages, which are becoming more and more important in European business collaborations. Materials (texts, dialogues, videos, sound recordings) from authentic local/regional contexts were used to support relevant language learning activities through web-based immersion, e.g. 'Tübingen Past and Present', 'Business', 'Language and Mentality', 'Nature and Science', 'People and places' etc. These regional language modules combine the presentation of factual information with basic language explorations; English translations are provided to ensure comprehensibility. At the German and the Polish sites, 'Standard Dialogue Situations' enable learners to acquire and practise communications skills for business-related (and private) travel requirements.
In the lifetime of the project, the LinguaWeb platform was developed and evaluated as a prototype for 4 languages (English, German, Irish and Polish). It is currently a prototype for research into web-based language learning and will be will be expanded for commercial use.