English Language Day

English Language Day Quick Facts - AU

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2024 Date23 April 2024
2025 Date23 April 2025

English Language Day

English Language Day in
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English Language Day History

English Language Day aims to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, as well as multilingualism. The day. As an event, English Language Day carries particular importance due to the widespread use of English across the globe, including its status as an official language in many countries.

English Language Day holds significance in Australia, a country where English plays a central role in terms of communication, education, and intercultural exchange. The history of English in Australia traces back to the late 18th century with the arrival of the First Fleet from Britain. English Language Day also brings attention to the unique Australian variant of the language, which features distinctive accents, vocabulary and phrases. On a wider scale, it acknowledges the role of English in Australia's multicultural society, facilitating the assimilation and exchange of diverse communities.

In Australia, English Language Day is observed with a range of activities that celebrate and investigate the influence of the language. Some activities include English literacy and linguistic workshops, public speaking contests, and recognition of Australian literature. Schools and universities actively participate in this observance with activities highlighting the importance of the English language in a global context. English Language Day occurs on April 23 and coincides with the birthday of William Shakespeare, one of the most influential figures in English literature.

Facts about English Language Day

  • There are six total working languages among the UN community and five other language days. They are: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.
  • There are approximately 106 total countries that use English as a first-language and some 339 million first-language speakers (i.e. it is their first and primary language spoken) worldwide.
  • The English language can trace its origins back to the year 450 when invading German tribes spoke a similar language. The language of this time period came to be referred to as Old English. Native English speakers today would have trouble understanding it, as it has many differences to what we now consider the English language.
  • One of the unique traits of Australian English is called “diminutives” in language studies – shortening words and adding an ending like ‘-o’ or ‘-ie’. For example, Afternoon becomes 'Arvo'. Service station becomes 'Servo'. This unique phenomena is widely used and appreciated on this day.
  • Australian English has incorporated a number of words from Aboriginal languages, highlighting the influence of the indigenous culture on the dialect. Words like "kangaroo", "koala", "wombat", and "boomerang" are all of Aboriginal origin.

Top things to do in Australia for English Language Day

  • Volunteer at a local English Second Language center that provides incoming immigrants with language training. Many of these centers operate with volunteers and you can help the learners practice their English.
  • Visit Libraries: Australia has numerous and well-stocked libraries like the State Library of Victoria and the State Library of New South Wales that have English language material ranging from books, to magazines and films.
  • Read a book to learn more about the English Language in Australia:
    1) Australian English: The National Language - by Gerhard Leitner
    2) Accent on Australia - Australian English Since 1788 - by Bruce Moore

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