Guide on the use of the REFIC

The Skills Reference Data of multilingual communication in intercomprehension1 (i.e. REFIC)2 forms a guide for the programming of the trainings and a basis for the evaluation of the acquired skills as part of the multilingual groundwork for the languages’ learning process such as intercomprehension, namely a groundwork that gives priority to the receptive skills in order to read, listen or interact each in our own language. This Reference Data is completed by the Skills Reference Data of multilingual in didactics of intercomprehension (i.e. REFDIC) that for its part, offers elements of didactic skills enabling to build a training process to didactics of the intercomprehension.

These two documents speak specifically to the tutors3 with two different aims. The descriptors of the first (REFIC) concern the knowledge, the skills and the attitudes and the more efficient strategies for a tutor4 in intercomprehension who wish to develop with his/her audience on training; he has to learn by himself beforehand. The second one (REFDIC) develops the knowledge, the skills and the attitudes and the strategies required to a tutor to promote a didactics of intercomprehension in his/her professional practice.

The specific aims of the Skills Reference Data of plurilingual communication in intercomprehension (i.e. REFIC) are:

  • Define attitudes, knowledge and competences in intercomprehension that facilitate the plurilingual and intercultural communication;

  • And, in that way, promote the curriculum integration process of intercomprehension and its spreading as a teaching and communicative practice.

The two teaching resources have been conceived to be consulted in an easy and direct way by the tutors; we have then matched to each descriptor concrete examples, practical suggestions, and sources of information easily accessible. We will not find here either comprehensiveness or the systematic nature of other documents, for example the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ( ) or the Framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to Languages and Cultures (FREPA, ) but rather a practical guide of the didactics programming. Likewise, the classification of the descriptors can prove to be less thorough than the two documents quoted above because we have decided to realize some social skills by skilled descriptors of knowledge and know-how that will allow to the learner, in our opinion, to enroll in a learning process in intercomprehension.

A first read of the Skills Reference Data of plurilingual communication in intercomprehension will lead to think that the skills and knowledge aimed are only for adults or older teens, because of the metalinguistic and metacognitive effort of thinking involved. We will remember that there are many projects as part of the pluralistic approaches, and especially in intercomprehension that offers activities quite feasible with children.

The language awareness’ approach5, for example, widely experimented in many countries6 is conceived to develop to very younger learners, at their levels:

  • “Metalinguistic abilities to observe and to reason;

  • Useful know-how for the learning of languages;

  • Attitudes of openness to the linguistic and cultural diversity;

  • Knowledge related to languages and to their variety” (Candelier and De Pietro, 2014: 179).

In the specific framework of intercomprehension, we can name projects such as Euro-mania7 and Itinéraires romans8 that are specifically addressed to school audiences between 8-9 years old and 11-13 years old.

In fact, each child is able to think about his/her linguistic repertoire and to identify the languages present in his/her environment; or recognize words of his/her mother tongue and in other unknown languages that will not necessary be a purpose of a systematic learning; all that is needed is to adapt the tasks to accomplish and the presented contents to the learners ‘age to succeed in reaching the targeted aims.

Why a skills reference data in intercomprehension?

In 2006, the Language Policy Unit of the Council of Europe has elaborated a document9 to remind the main steps in the evolution of the language educative policy in EU, over the last 50 years. The document underlined the fact that from the European Cultural Convention of 1954 the signatories committed to promote the linguistic diversity by the learning process and the teaching of their respective languages. Until this first commitment, 50 years of linguistic policy of the Council of Europe passed and aimed at the promotion of “the plurilingualism, the linguistic diversity, the mutual understanding, the democratic citizenship, the social cohesion” (Council of Europe, 2006; 4). One of the crucial steps of this process is represented certainly by the official launch of the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFRL) in 2001 upon the European Year of Languages. The definition of the plurilingual skill that we offer becomes a point of reference for all didactic teachers that work for a languages’ education with a plurilingual and an intercultural purpose in mind. In particular, the difference between the multilingualism and the plurilingualism that has proclaimed a change of paradigm in the teaching of languages:

“We can simply arrive at multilingualism diversifying the offer of languages at school or in a given educational system, […]. Far beyond, the plurilingual approach puts emphasis on the fact that, as and when a linguistic experience of a person in her/his cultural environment expands from the home language to the language of the social group and then to the language of other groups (whether learnt at school or on the field), she/he does not classify these languages and these cultures in separated compartments but rather as a communicative skill for which each knowledge and each experience of languages contribute and in which languages are linked and interacts. In different circumstances, a locutor can appeal to different parts of this skill, with flexibility, to communicate easily with a given interlocutor. For example, partners can go from one language or dialect to another, each one exploiting the competence of one another to speak in a language and understand the other one. No one can appeal to his/her knowledge of different languages to understand a written or even oral text, in a language a priori “unknown”, recognizing disguised words belonging to an international common stock” (CECR, 2001: 11)10. These remarks of the CECR mention some of the principles of the intercomprehension and constitute then a prestigious source in support of its diffusion, although “it still remains to settle and translate into actions all the consequences of such a reversal of paradigm” (Id.). In that sense, the European Language Portfolio (ELP) was created as a tool to allow to learners to think about their linguistic and cultural repertoires acquired in formal and informal contexts and to give them a wider visibility. This is the same with the, “European framework of references that gives not only a grading scale to the evaluation of general skill of a given language but also an analysis of the use of the language and the linguistic skills that will facilitate, for the practitioners, the definition of the goals and the description of the levels reached in all the possible skills, depending on the various needs, on the features and the resources of the learners” (Id.). However, despite the stances showed on the document, several specialists have noticed the lack of the concept of plurilingualism in the descriptors (Delouis, 2008)11. Few years later, in 2007, this emptiness was filled by the Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches to Languages (FREPA) that has established specific descriptors defining knowledge, know-how and social skills necessary to a plurilingual communication.

How is our thought positioned inside the view briefly outlined? Our effort was to design descriptors ad hoc for the acquisition of communication skills in intercomprehension from the heritage of what was produced in the field of the languages didactic and plurilingualism during theses last years, choosing in particular the contents that we thought were relevant in an intercomprehensive and plurilingual prospect, which is ours. In this context thus, the two Skills Reference Data made as part of the MIRIADI project, theSskills Reference Data of plurilingual communication in intercomprehension (i.e. REFIC) and the Skills Reference Data in didactics of the intercomprehension (REDFIC), are addressed at each tutor who wish to expand his/her didactic prospect and set coherent teaching with a broad-based vision of the disciplines.

Competent or inexperienced teachers, of languages (L1, L2, Lx…) languages of school, classical languages) or of other disciplines (history, geography, mathematics, science) could read the descriptors of the Skills Reference Data of plurilingual communication in intercomprehension upstream the process of teaching-learning as all the parameters to take into account on the development of their teaching program. This use may include a using afterwards, where each descriptor can be a point of reference for the evaluation of the affected results from the learners.

The main organizers

The areas of expertise and the learning goals. 12The intercomprenhesive didactics and the other pluralistic approaches are characterized by the full integration of the global nature, unsegmented, heterogeneous to the pluriligual skill; by the recognition of the dynamic nature of this skill that allow to mobilize and to reorganize the repertoire of the subjects; by the enhancement of all the languages of the plurilingual repertoire that alternate with each other in an inter-linguistic circulation (cf. Coster, 2002).

Consistent with these key concepts, the descriptors elaborated study on:

  1. The metalingusitic13 and metacognitives14 strategies: they are at the core of the experimental researches in IC that offer to clarify the functioning of a “grammar of intercoprehension” namely the rules that determine the mechanisms of intercomprehension. So the descriptors are focused on the ability to rely on the language(s) known to reach other languages15, to operate the similarities between the languages of the same family (or not)16, to resort to the processes of inference, to discover in an autonomous way the functioning of the linguistics systems by the observation of analogies, of the links between the written forms and the sounds, of the lexical transparency. The descriptors are less focused on the knowledge or the isolated skills than on the abilities of their connections.

  2. The linguistic and communicative activities: first, the written comprehension, the most accessible communicative activities in intercomprehension and the most studied as experimental researches. It is about developing strategies of receipt in order to understand the global meaning of texts, calling up especially the process of interference, accepting at the beginning an approximate understanding and exploiting similarities and regularities between languages genetically related. A detailed understating is progressively developed based on these methodological presuppositions. The oral comprehension and the interaction (written and spoken) are also concerned as well as production, understood here as an interproduction (Balboni, 2009: 197), namely as the ability to adjust one’s own production in first language17 to an addressee of another language, including in the contexts of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC).

  3. A linguistic and cultural knowledge and an intercultural tendency. The possibility to have contacts with interlocutors of different languages-cultures (not limited to the great languages of communication and teaching) but also with written texts, oral and audio-visual products in a social context with different linguistic communities, allow an opening on the linguistic/cultural differences, the awareness that sounds exist as well as grammatical structures, pragmatic rules, cultural references, a different lexical and grammatical division. These coincidences stimulate also the share of experiences, and the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

The dimensions take into account

The fields of skills outlined apply a change of paradigm in the education of languages that comes from a deconditioning of the learner (and, a fortiori, of the teacher) compared to some of his/her preceding learning in a monolingual approach and with representations that he/she can have on the languages’ status and on the linguistic diversity, on the learning process and his/her goals, on the value of the partial skills…

We do not find here grammar tables, lexical forms, lists of communicative deeds; the fields of skills mentioned, which learning process need to be tackle, are stated around five dimensions : the first two particularly are procedural and metalinguistic and the other three are communicative :

  1. The plurilingual subject and the learning

  2. Languages and cultures

  3. The written comprehension

  4. The oral comprehension

  5. The plurilingual interaction.

The person trained is the protagonist of her/his own learning, the first sphere to take into account (the plurilingual subject and the learning) concerns the development of her/his linguistic cultural repertoire as well as the metacognitive strategies related to management, to organization and to the evaluation of his/her learning process. First, it is to bring the subject to become aware that even partial knowledge, fractioned, in languages sometimes less legitimate socially (languages in minority, dialects) at heterogeneous levels of skills is a cultural and linguistic resource not insignificant. From this thought, the learner could then watch around him/her to discover and enjoy resources of his/her environment, to get her/his knowledge, convictions and beliefs together with other subjects and might be aware of the weight of these factors in communication in a multilingual context.

The second dimension (Languages and cultures) is about the sphere of knowledge related to languages and cultures in a plurilingual and intercultural perspective. It is not about forming specialist of comparative linguistics but to make essential concepts regarding the spoken languages worldwide available to the learners and also make available statuses, their diffusion, their evolution, their relations, their functioning, so that they become aware of the issues of plurilingualism. This is a dimension that has earned a certain important as part of pluralistic approaches, a field of languages didactics that has led to the writing of the CARAP. According to Candelier and De Pietro “The processes like language awareness integrate such objects of knowledge in their aims, precisely with the hypothesis that knowledge can found the opening and the acceptance and thus could be used as a basis to “plurilingual culture” that matches better with the linguistic realities of our era” (2014 : 186).

The three dimensions related to the linguistic activities considered: written comprehension, oral comprehension and plurilingual Interaction (written and spoken) are developed in two times: first we summarize the descriptors referring to strategies and basic know-how, already known and described in didactics of foreign languages for the skills in reception and in interaction, but completing and clarifying them by descriptors with specific skills of the plurilingual intercomprehensive approach.

Thus, first the descriptors for general skills are presented, such as “anticipate the meaning based on the extra-textual context” to facilitate the understanding or “identify the interactive deeds” to get accustomed to the interactive dynamic. Then, more specific descriptors will focused for example on the “ability to rebuild rules of symmetry from one language to another and proceed to interlinguistic transfer” in order to understand a text sharpening the intercomprehensive process. The specific situation of the plurilingual interaction requires general communicative skills and particularly to have also, for example, an “ability to seek other languages, to free failures of communication and to adjust one’s production to the interlocutor of another country with another language”.

As regard the formulation of the descriptors proper to written and spoken, the choice made by the authors privileged the clarity, sometimes with the risk of repetition. Indeed, the comprehension of oral texts and written texts present a great number of common features beside of the specific features. From the effort to make the descriptors autonomous one of each other while keeping the logical connections between each others, we have decided to repeat whenever it is necessary the concepts or the didactic processes valid for the two types (written/oral), limiting at the most the returns to other parts of the text. The skills reference data doesn’t follow systematically an advance order because many aims have to be taken in parallel and the progression doesn’t follow a linear order according to the subjects and the languages in presence, but when it seemed appropriate, the descriptors come one after another in gradual order outlining a didactic process with sequential phases.

The evaluation objects

The various definitions of intercomprehension, proposed by the specialists of this field (Capucho 2010, Jamet 2010, Jamet-Spita, 2010, Ollivier, 2013), show the entire context in which the approach started and was used: For the most part it is about European projects with specific goals for chosen audiences generally regarding the scope of intervention of researchers. Contextual constraints have also influenced the evaluation’s criterions regarding the skills to acquire. Indeed, if the aims of an intercomprehensive teaching for the company professionals (CF. PREFIC-Cité des Métiers project) or of the Marine mercantile (Cf. INTERMAR project), are focused on the abilities and the pragmatic skills; in school or in university contexts, the factors of more general cognitive, metacognitive and ethic orders are more emphasized. The evaluation of skills in intercomprehension fits also into the variety of approaches. This variety is far to represent an incoherent fragmentation and demonstrate an effort of constituent contextualization of each educational deed. The didactics field formed now needs to have an evaluation recognized institutionally, at a supranational level. The objects of the evaluation as well as the methods chosen will then be compatible with the different audiences, their specific needs and the goals targeted, the REFIC offers a basis to work on this direction.

Thus, an institutional evaluation, necessary to the process wished for the recognition of intercomprehension, needs the definition of the identified and shared criterions regarding the levels reached in languages present in the learning processes. Besides, the strengths of the intercomprehensive approach can be found in the development of interdisciplinary skills: cognitive abilities of the knowledge’s transfer, the interlinguistic analogies, intercultural skills as well as the criterions that enhance the change of the learners’ attitude regarding their own learning processes, their own languages and the speakers. A certificated evaluation will necessary include a certificate of linguistic and pragmatic skills and also have other modes of qualitative evaluation such as portfolios, logbooks, auto-evaluation and evaluation between peers.

The same worry should concern the object of evaluation: the skill in one or several language(s), including that/these ones previously known and/or that are a learning process already targeted, but also knowledge or interdisciplinary know-how as for example those considered by Lenz and Berthele (2010: 6):

  • “Communicate orally in multilingual contexts, for example, participate in a dialogue in many languages; use the code-switching and the mix of codes as functional tools as regards the communication and the context;

  • Draw in many sources of different languages in order to accomplish tasks of production or interaction in one dominant language;

  • Use a linguistic skills’ profile developed unequally in several languages […];

  • Do mediation between languages, for example translate and interpret; explain with simple words in language B the meaning of a reading text in language C;

  • Use all the knowledge learned from a former learning process of a language in order to understand texts from languages of the same family (intercompehension, for example, between Romance languages, Slavonic languages, Germanic language)”.

The tutor will choose according to his/her goals and context of intervention and will chose also the learning contents to develop and evaluate. We offer hints at mark III.4. of the REFIC: Evaluate the training process and enhance the results .

The progression of the learning processes

The researches in intercomprehension (Jamet 20120; Capucho 2014; Campodonio, Janin, Ploquin, 2014 to name a few) have emphasize a functioning quite different compared to the advancements considered in the learning process of a targeted language. The criterions take into account by the specialists for example; the complexity involved by the linguistic activity itself: the listening is without a doubt more difficult to understand than the writing, aside from the factors of a textual and linguistic nature; the simultaneous presence of several languages can appear as a serious complexity according to their number and diffusion, even though this one could be a serious difficulty to face as well as being a resource to use for the interlinguistic circulation that is ongoing.

The choice made in the framework of the Skills Reference Data to consider an eventual advancement is based on the teaching and fundamental presupposition that in each learning process the access to new knowledge is possible only from knowledge and skills that a learner already possessed. Yet, when we are confronted to an unknown language we try spontaneously to find recognizable elements thanks to similarity and analogy with our first language and all the other languages known, using also everything that we already know on the functioning of communication, on the organization of the linguistic systems, on the relational dynamics and finally on our encyclopedic knowledge.

During this process some elements will be more “transparent” for us than others, namely recognizable spontaneously by an immediate interference. The concept of transparency is at the heart indeed of the intercomprehensive processes, in particular regarding the lexicon and this, for several reasons. First, the words are the first access to the language in comprehension and in production; this is corroborated also by the researches on the linguistic acquisition of a second language (RAL) in a spontaneous context: the analysis of the inter-language of theses learners show that the first strategy on the access of a new language is organized around key words (the key word strategy); the lexicon is the first resource really linguistic used by the learner, the other resources are pragmatic, gestural, prosodic or relational. Indeed, even with a very low knowledge of the morphology, we can approximately understand what our interlocutor is talking about if we understand (and guess) the radical meaning of the words he uses, if we notice their lexical field and their thematic.

In intercomprehension also the learner leans more on the lexicon to understand the texts of unknown languages, so it is the “transparency” between the words of the different languages involved that we are going to work to learn to decrease the opacities.

But what is a transparent word? If this is true that we have to take into account subjective factors, as Dabène says: “the closeness is a lever for the learning process only when it is perceived and identified as such by the subject18” (1996: 397), it is also possible to define the levels of transparency and opacity more or less important within more objective basis.

The first element from which the learner gets in touch with the form of words, as Bogaards recalls: “to which the learners are confronted at first sight to the forms and not the meanings but the forms are first and only lines of letters and sounds” (Bogaards 1994: 166). The more they look alike known words19, the more it will be easy to make hypothesis on their meanings. If there is a semantic similarity to this formal similarity (namely if the word has a meaning very close to the meaning of a word very alike for its form), we can talk about formal transparency and semantics. Then, the link transparency-opacity is interpreted as a continuum where the learner can be confronted with different degrees of accessibility (which the false friends, where a strong formal similarity is opposed to a total semantic non similarity, are only possible scenarios and not the most usual).

In an intercomrpehensive didactics, the words – or any other linguistic element – perceived as transparent by the learner forms so the starting point of all the later learning processes. First it is about exploiting the spontaneous ability of each speaker/learner and build the meaning of texts on the basis of analogies between the new language(s) and the known language(s) and then guide her/him step by step to effect the necessary adjustments to find similarities that are less obvious. Moreover, other non transparent elements necessary to communication will be learnt contextually during the reading and listening activities thanks to a didactic device that was built around this approach (grammars of reading, comparative tables, punctual translations, etc.). References to these tools of reduction of opacities are given in the clarifications of the descriptors. An intercomprehensive learning process is not limited to accept the spontaneous hypothesis of the learners, by staying with an approximate comprehension, but it represents an entry into the languages that is constructed around the cognitive and metacognitive activity of the learners, to build together an acceptable comprehension and have elements that will allow them to proceed in their future learning processes autonomously to come up to a more satisfying comprehension and to a more efficient plurilingual interaction.

It is in the light of these considerations that we can understand how a progression in intercomprehension interprets the relationship simple-complex in a specific manner because it is added to the continuum opacity-transparency. The specialized texts or the registers more elevated, for example, generally considered as complex, can be more accessible for Romance language-speaking20 learners who know the specialized field because the lexicon comes from a Greek or Latin basis and it is shared by each Romance language with few modifications; it is due also to the textual gender in use and the issues ongoing in the disciplines tend to look alike in an international community of specialists of one matter. Thus, if we teach first in a language class the more used daily words and the available words21 of the targeted language, in intercomprehension the teacher can choose to start by texts with less used daily words but that are potentially more transparent for the learners. In this perspective, the levels established by the creators of the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFRL) can be not much operational. For example, Capucho remarks (2014: 367) that: “the descriptors in reception (written and oral) of the CEFRL are not adapted to the IC tasks. If the advancement, as considered by the CEFRL, goes from simple to complex, from the level of the word or the sentence at a textual level, it may be possible in IC to understand the global meaning of a complex text (especially a specialized text in the same filed as the one of the learners) without catch the details; it may be possible also to not understand a simple message if this one is not surrounded by iconic or a situational circumstances”.

In a didactic of intercomprehension the learner will seek the formal transparencies first on the basis of which activate the processes of interference, using also the contextual indications and her/his encyclopedic knowledge. The semeiological approach (from the form to the meaning) and the onomeiological approach (from the meaning to the form) are also integrated in a continual back and forth between global comprehension and analysis of the known lexical items.

Three levels of advancement

In our intercomprehensive approach, we have thought about three fields where we can find advancement on three levels (see the table below). The first field is about the learner and the growing degree of her/his autonomy in his/her learning process. It is about highlighting the evolution of her/his attitudes in particular toward his/her learner’s situation, her/his representations regarding the learning methods within an intercomprehensive vision, her/his thinking and auto-evaluation and her/his intercultural sensibility. From the cognitive abilities viewpoint, we will especially notice the progresses in the transfers of knowledge and the interlinguistic analogy.

The second field leans on the acquisition of textual skills, in particular, the types and gender of texts and their discursive functioning. The third field is focused on the knowledge and the know-how specifically linguistic: syntax, lexicon, morphology. For these two fields, the advancement follows a process - first with the help of the teacher and then in a more and more autonomous way - that goes from the most transparent to the less transparent, of a more spontaneous comprehension (thanks to the choice of the teacher’s document) to a more controlled comprehension that calls in the progressive acquisition of linguistic and strategic knowledge. Likewise for interaction, it is about to observe how the interactive dynamic spreads out to understand the functioning of it and then to acquire progressively skills allowing to participate effectively to a plurilingual interaction. We wish to state that the learning contents proposed in each field represent more a set of examples to suggest the type of knowledge and of know-how considered than a real program.

Each of the three fields grow on three levels of advancement; I. Consciousness rising, II. Training, III. Improvement. Inside each level, it will be possible to contemplate the different degrees according to the contextual conditions and the goals of the training action. Thus, at a first level, is it possible to raise awareness among the audience on its own linguistic and cultural repertoire, or to make the audience discover in practice the possibilities offered by the linguistic closeness for the understanding of texts with close languages but never studied? These punctual aims can be offered and reached on a day of initiation to intercomprehension for all kind of audience.

The levels II and III require obviously having temporal resources and the set-up of wider and organized educational devices. In each case, it will be about proceeding progressively, combining commitment and attention, multiplying the occasions to spread a new method to conceive the teaching of languages.

The level III could be equivalent to the level B2 of the CECR in reception, because beyond that level the learner’s/speaker’s skills put immediately their skills in a practical use for their own social and professional goals or in a skill-development process of one or more targeted languages of their choice which means a common practice at each reception of texts, in mother language or in languages less and less foreign. The approaches and the strategies acquired in intercomprehension will continue however to form a support for the learner to go forward in her/his future linguistic and communicative learning processes.

The indications of level have been occasionally indicated in the explanations of the descriptors but here are few elements of the description of the levels mentioned in an overview (link (visible also in this table).

Twenty times on the profession…

A last word on the future of the Skill Reference Data. The two texts - The Skills Reference Data of plurilingual communication in intercomprehension (REFIC) and the Skills Reference Data in didactics of the intercomprehension (REFDIC) - are the result of a collaborative work that has been carried on during three years during the MIRIADI’s plan: debates, confrontations, proofreading, proposals of texts have succeeded between the members of the work package in charge of the development, face to face or online. Moreover, throughout the project, other teams and partners have used the Skills Reference Data in different teaching and training contexts, their considerations have established an occasion to think and have made a reason for new changes. Stimulated by this dynamic, we have continuously changed the texts and have updated them on the platform forming the work area of the project. This process is not finished and it is not conceived in this purpose. Indeed, this is a true laboratory evolving all the time that we wanted to set up. As soon as the Skills Reference Data will be analyzed, commented, experimented22 later by the users, it could be improved and enriched thanks to the flexibility of the digital support. You can find the current version of the two Skills Reference Data here:

1 This introductory part of the use of the Skills Reference Data of multilingual communication in intercomprehension (REFIC) was written by Maddalena De Carlo and resume partially the text “Evaluate in Intercomprehension or dare to plurilingual paradigm” of Encarni Carrasco and Maddalena De Carlo; to become a publication in Bonviano E. & Jamet M. (coord.) “Intercomprensione, multilinguismo ricettivo, ibridazione: aspetti linguistici, cognitivi e didattici” Ed. EL.LE, Ca’ Foscari, Venice. Thanks to Mathilde Anquetil for her scrupulous proofreading and for her relevant proposal.

2 Made by the participants of the work package 4 as part of the European Program MIRIADI ( Maddalena De Carlo, University of Cassino, coordinator of the work package, Mathilde Anquetil and Silvia Vecchi, University of Macerata, Marie-Christine Jamet, University of Venice (Italy), Eric Martin Autonomous University of Barcelona, Encarni Carasco Perea, University of Barcelona, Raquel Hidalgo, University of Madrid (Spain), Yasmin Pishva and Fabrice Gilles, University of Grenoble (France), Ana Isabel Andrade, University of Aveiro (Portugal).

3 Although it can be used by adults in auto-training, already initiated to intercomprehension, this skills reference data do not form an auto-evaluation tool such as portfolio addressed to learner in an institutional context.

4 In the Skills Reference Data the word « tutor » means a teacher and the tutors of tutors (by the way the same subjects include often the two functions), the descriptors can be addressed indeed at all kind of training.

5 See for examples the websites of the Evlang, Ja-ling, Elodil projects or the Swiss educational facilities EOLE.

6 For example, in Great Britain where it was proclaimed in the 80’s as language awareness and successively in France, Austria, Spain, Canada, and Italy.

7 In particular Euro-mania ( offers learning textbooks to children of 8-11 years old that integrate the multilingual activities in intercomprehension between languages affiliated to the teaching of a school subject in foreign languages (CLIL methodology). A wider experimentation of this textbook was settled up in 2013 in Catalonia as part of the educational project to plurilingualism of the regional administration.

9 The plurilingual teaching in Europe. 50 years of international cooperation. Available here:

10 The plurilingual teaching in Europe. 50 years of international cooperation. Available here:

11 Delouis, A. 2008. « The European common framework for Languages: report of a critical debate in the German-speaking area”. Modern Languages, 2008, 19-31.

12 The acquisition of strategies of intercomprehension and metalingusitic skills is indeed central also for the understanding of disciplinary contents.

13 On the theoretical debate regarding the word metalinguistic, see Jean-Émile Gombert, “metalinguistic activities and acquisition of a language”, Acquisition and interaction in foreign language [Online], 8 1996, online since December, 5th 2011, read on September, 27th 2015. URL:

14 Cf. note 19.

15 We are here focused on the Romance languages, all the examples are thus of this language family, but the same principles can be expended to other language families.

16 There is in fact projects in intercomprehension that are about languages that doesn’t belong strictly to the same families (for example: ITLE; EU+I ).

17 The notion of mother tongue is difficult to perceive, we prefer use a more “neutral” word here to talk about the most spoken and the more used language by the locutor in the social communication.

18 Our emphasizing.

19 In particular, all the specialists agree on the fact that the words can be close on the basis of their “consonantal frameworks” namely if they have the same consonants in the same order.

20 Cf. Note 4.

21 It is about those words, even if they are not so usual, they are still necessary for the ordinary communication because essential inside the lexical field, for example the word “fork” if it is for a meal, or “gas” for a car…

22 We refer to here to the definition of Christian Bégin proposed in his article: “the learning processes’ strategies: a simplified framework of reference”, in Revue des sciences de l’éducation, vol. 34, n°1, 2008, pages 47-67. Available on: