The CEFR distinguishes between plurilingualism and multilingualism. In the same way it distinguishes between multiculturalism and pluriculturalism. This distinction aims to facilitate understanding of two very different views of linguistic and cultural diversity. Multilingualism/multiculturalism considers languages and cultures as separate and somehow static entities that co-exist in societies or individuals.

Plurilingualism and pluriculturalism aim to capture the holistic nature of individual language users/learners linguistic and cultural repertoires. In this view, learners/users seen as social agents draw upon all sorts of resources in their linguistic and cultural repertoires and further develop these resources in their trajectories. Plurilingualism/pluriculturalism stresses the dynamic use of multiple languages/varieties and cultural knowledge, awareness and/or experience in social situations.

Both plurilingualism and pluriculturalism focus on interconnectedness of different languages and cultures rather than on their differences and stress the importance of evolving profiles that value even the most partial competences in and awareness of languages and cultures.

Ideas for implementation



CEFR Companion volume - Section 2.3

Info sheet: Plurilingualism

Capitalising on, activating and developing plurilingual and pluricultural repertoires for better school
(2010: Véronique Castellotti and Danièle Moore)

From linguistic diversity to plurilingual education (2007: Jean-Claude Beacco, Michael Byram)

Plurilingual and pluricultural competence (1997/2009: Daniel Coste et al.)



“We are all (potential) plurilinguals”: Plurilingualism as an overarching, holistic concept (2016: Enrica Piccardo)

From 'promising controversies' to negotiated practices: A research synthesis of plurilingual pedagogy in global contexts (2022: Li Chen et al.)

Plurilingualism and multimodality: The metanoia within reach (2022: Riah Werner and Elka Todeva)

A rolling stone gathers no moss? The case of mature students in Higher Education and their plurilingual repertoires (2019: Susana Ambrósio et al.)

Plurilingualism in the new era: A conversation with Enrica Piccardo (2018: Yecid Ortega)