In memoriam John Trim

John TrimJohn Trim was a remarkable figure in the European language education community. He had a long and distinguished career, first as a German scholar at UCL, then as Lecturer of Phonetics and later Director of Linguistics at Cambridge, where the Language Centre is named after him.

From the 1960s onwards, John Trim served as an advisor to the Council of Europe on learning, co-originator of the Threshold Level concept that has a huge influence on language curricula and testing, and one of the key authors of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

John was also one of the founders of BAAL. He attended first meetings in London in 1965, and was elected Treasurer at the first annual meeting at Reading in 1967, later serving as Chair from 1985 to 1988.

From 1978-1987, John served as Director of CILT, the Centre for Information on Language Teaching (1978-1987), where he played a key role in forming the Association for Language Learning. In 2012, he was awarded a Fellowship “in recognition for his lifetime of distinguished service and outstanding achievement in the field of language learning and teaching in Europe and the UK and for his long-term contribution to the furtherance of the Association for Language Learning”. (see Holmes)

To find out more about John Trim’s life, work and legacy, follow the links below:

John Trim, by Bernardette Holmes, Past President of ALL

In a presentation to the English Profile Seminar, Cambridge, February 2007, John Trim describes the development of the influential Threshold series

Interview with John Trim and Nick Saville to mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), recorded in May 2011

John Trim gave a keynote on the “CEFR: its educational and political background” at the ACTFL-CEFR Symposium 2012 which took place on 21-23 June 2012 at the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML, Graz). Listen to his speech on SoundCloud.

Messages of condolence can be left on the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML)’s website

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