Nuremberg Recommendations
Early foreign language learning today and perspectives for the future

Nuremberg Recommendations: Situation and Perspectives © Goethe-Institut

There is an observable trend worldwide for foreign language learning to begin earlier than was the case fifteen years ago. Initiatives in the planning, curricularisation and implementation of early learning programmes on a systematic and cross-institutional basis, and training of the requisite teaching personnel, are widespread. 

Studies conducted at national and international level are furnishing convincing evidence that early foreign language teaching can fully live up to the expectations placed on it. Children learn their new language eagerly. 

Given good conditions, they acquire basic communicative competences and language awareness. These successes have been shown to depend on the fulfilment of prerequisites in terms of language policy and pedagogical and language-teaching practice that in many countries and regions are still not being adequately addressed [1].

Language policy actors

The framework conditions governing early foreign language learning are determined to a significant extent by educational and language policy decisions originating outside the learning and teaching institutions of nursery education, pre-primary education, primary education.

Language choice and language sequence

A host of factors determine which foreign languages will be learnt in a given country.

Appropriate concepts

Language learning programmes for small children must have the effect of inducing a personal feel for the target language and of encouraging communication in the new and still strange language.


With the adoption of the Joint European Reference Framework for Languages it has become possible for the level of language learning attainment for a particular language to be described sufficiently precisely to permit grading by reference levels.

Source Information
[1] Cf. Edelenbos, Johnstone & Kubanek (2006), Edelenbos, Kubanek (2007), Engel, Grooth-Wilken & Thürmann (2009)

Further Information