The project VinoLingua will provide winegrowers with a series of language manuals, focused on their professional needs, which will prepare them to carry out wine tastings, take visitors on a guided tour of their vineyard, present their wine cellar at a wine fair, or just sell their own wine; and, all this, in a different language!
Languages offered are German, French, Italian, and Spanish, and, at the same time, each one of these languages will be represented by a wine-growing region through which students will manage to discover the culture associated to the wine and its region: Lower Austria and South Tyrol, for German; Burgundy, for French; Tuscany, for Italian; and, for Spanish, the Toro region. Each of these four languages is, at the same time, the target language —that is, the language our students wish to learn— or the winegrowers’ mother tongue, which potentially accounts for twelve different language combinations.
From the beginners’ level, this method teaches the language of wine, rather than language in general. Moreover, materials for study are organized following a “spiral” shape, that is, presenting the same communicative situations on several occasions all along the course; firstly, using simpler linguistic structures, and then, progressively, introducing more complex structures as the programme unfolds. Thus, for instance, wine tasting features six times, and work in the vineyard, as well as the description of work in the cellar and wine trading, appear on three occasions. At the A1 level, students learn how to manage themselves in these situations using “chunks”, that is, fixed expressions they can easily memorize (in the mouth, there is …). Later on, a series of customized flashcards are introduced to teach winegrowers how to describe their own wine. Finally, at the B1 level, learning is based on authentic audio/video materials related to wine.
The VinoLingua method, financed by the European Union through its Leonardo da Vinci Program, has been conceived as a set of self-study materials. Nevertheless, we are certain these materials can also be used at professional winemaking schools. In fact, the latter are an integral part of the partnership, composed of winegrowers, linguists, winemaking instructors, and language teachers.
Thanks to this project, Europe will likely turn into a crowd of “vinolinguist winegrowers” who will manage to communicate either amongst themselves or with any other wine lover in any language!
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