Visualising language repertoires

In this section, you will reflect on your language biography and your general attitudes towards plurilingualism. The activities look at different ways of visualising an individual’s language competences and biography related to language learning.

What you will learn in this section

The aims of this section are to (see also Marille 2011, 33–36):

  • recognise your own linguistic and cultural diversity (first languages, second languages, foreign languages, regional languages, different varieties  and dialects, sociolects, contextual variation, functional differentiation);
  • develop cultural awareness and to reflect on your own cultural experiences and emotions;
  • become familiar with methods to represent the individual and their development of languages and to use this to reflect not only on the first language, but also on other languages and dialects;
  • show respect for all languages and varieties.


  • Visualising language repertoires
  • Writing a language biography
  • Reflecting on language learning biographies


Visualising language repertoires

Create a poster visualising your language repertoire: languages (standard, non-standard) and dialects that you speak or are important to you for any other reason.

  • Try to make visible your language repertoire using colours, for example, by creating a language landscape, language body, tree or other figure. Visualise your emotions, attitudes and mindsets towards these varieties. Download the  materials (bodies, tree, house, etc.).
  • Make notes on the poster: create colour key and explain in a few words why you chose these colours.
  • After the activity you can give a presentation explaining your picture to the group.
  • You can also share your experience with other learners, organising a gallery walk to see and talk about others' posters.

Here you can also take a look at some examples.

Read two articles:


Writing a language biography

Write about your language biography, focusing on your language-learning process (autobiographical elements are welcome). You can make use of a questionnaire when writing this text. Take your time and let the text grow. Follow the questionnaire or pick out some of the questions you are especially interested in.

  • How have you achieved your linguistic repertoire?
  • What do you remember about this process?

Take a look at some examples:

For some people, languages are a passion and learning languages is an adventure. They learn a variety of languages (to different levels) in their life. Here are some examples:


Reflecting on language learning biographies

Exchange your texts and discuss the language biographies and the different elements that have affected your motivation during the process (pair work). The following aspects could be considered:

  • academic versus extracurricular language learning
  • motivating and demotivating elements
  • positive and negative memories
  • the role of teachers, parents, friends and peers
  • beneficial and obstructive influences

Have a closer look at your language biography and analyse your text based on the aspects mentioned above. What does this mean to you as a teacher?

Alternatively, you can read one of the language biography examples and take notes relating to the aspects mentioned above or focus on the motivating or demotivating elements in the language-learning process.


Header image based on "grass and palette" by Julie Paradise1 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).