European Day of Languages

Quick Facts

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2020 Date26 September 2020
2021 Date26 September 2021
European Day of Languages

European Day of Languages History

The European Day of Languages is a yearly event celebrating the linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe and emphasizing the importance of intercultural understanding. Today, there are over 200 European languages, 24 official EU languages and around 60 regional or minority languages, not including languages spoken by people from around the world that have migrated to the European Union.

The event was a joint effort between the Council of Europe and the European Union. Since its inception in 2001, the annual celebration has been spent encouraging lifelong language learning across Europe while promoting the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the continent. The European Day of Languages is an annual event held on the 26th of September.

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European Day of Languages Facts & Quotes

  • 54% of Europeans are bi-lingual, 25% can speak three languages and 10% can speak at least three.
  • English is the most widely spoken (38%) foreign language in Europe.
  • 98% of people in Luxembourg can speak more than one language. However the lowest numbers in Europe are found in Ireland, Portugal and the UK, where only 60 and 61%, respectively, of the population can speak a second language.
  • If you talk to a man in a language that he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his hears. - Nelson Mandela
  • One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way. ‒Frank Smith

European Day of Languages Top Events and Things to Do

  • Start learning a new language, there are dozens of online courses and mobile apps such as, Duolingo, Byki or BBC Languages. Local schools and colleges often run affordable face-to-face classes too.
  • Check out the European Day of Languages website for games, quizzes and trivia to practice different languages.
  • Watch a film that touches on cross-cultural and interlinguistic communication: Our favourites are Spanglish (2004) abdBon Cop, Bad Cop (2006).
  • Read some literature in another language. Most translations lose some of the original meaning and feeling of the work. So, be brave, use a a dictionary on an online translator such as Google or Universal Translator to read some of your favourite works in their original languages. Some of our favourite classics are:
    Spanish: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
    French: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    Russian: The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin
    German: The Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka
  • Languages impact every aspect of life from education to social structure to culinary choices so try making some new food from a country whose language you do not speak. Have you tried falafel from the Middle East, paneer from India, or borsch from Eastern Europe?

European Day of Languages References and Related Sites European Languages

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