The Credo of the Marnix Plan

Other languages: Arabic - Bulgarian - Catalan - Dutch - French - German - Greek - Italian - Portuguese - Romanian - Spanish - Turkish

1. In Brussels, learning languages is even more important than elsewhere, but it should also be less difficult, providing we know how to go about it and take pleasure in helping each other.

2. The ability to speak French, Dutch and English must not remain the monopoly of a privileged few, but must become the shared asset of all Brusselers, whatever their social background or mother tongues.

3. One should not be ashamed of using a language one does not speak well. There is no better way to learn it or maintain it.

4. Each day spent in Brussels can and must give each of us an opportunity to improve somewhat one of our languages and to help others improve one of theirs.

5. The learning of languages is not a zero-sum game: acquiring a new one need not be at the expense of those we already know.

6. It is never too late to start learning a new language. Nor is it ever too early: there is no need to wait until we fully master one language before beginning to learn more.

7. Our children’s brains are perfectly able to learn several languages simultaneously. Early learning can therefore save a lot of time, effort and money later in life. For full success, however, a well thought out strategy is needed, both at home and at school.

8. If the children’s school language is not their parents’ mother tongue, it is important that parents should learn it. When communicating with their young children, however, it is generally better for each of them to speak as consistently as possible their own best language, which is usually their native language. Transmitting this language to their children is one of the nicest gifts they could make them.

9. Audiovisual media and the internet are fabulous tools for language learning, but only when used judiciously

10. Speaking the language of the other is not a form of humiliation but a privilege, a token of respect and an opportunity.