The European Year of Languages 2001, jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union, was successful in involving millions of people across 45 participating countries. Its activities celebrated linguistic diversity in Europe and promoted language learning. The European Day of Languages is celebrated on the 26th of September each year.
The general objectives of the European Day of Languages are:
- Alerting the public to the importance of language learning and diversifying the range of languages learnt in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
- Promoting the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe, which must be preserved and fostered;
- Encouraging lifelong language learning in and out of school, whether for study purposes, for professional needs, for purposes of mobility or for pleasure and exchanges.
In APP this week, we have been celebrating the European Day of Languages in our MFL lessons. French and Spanish, two of the languages learnt here in APP, are both languages spoken in Europe.
We have watched some fun videos such as the song from Frozen “Let it Go” in 25 different languages, the Hakuna Matata song from The Lion King in French, advertisements from Language learning centres that show the importance of learning languages and a clip from the Apprentice, where they have to complete a task in Paris. Also, we have learnt about the pitfalls of Google translate and learnt how to say ‘hello’ in some of the different European languages. In Hungarian they say “Jó napot” pronounced (yo na-pot).
The older students have also been improving their geography, learning what the different capital cities are, as well as what some of the languages are that are spoken in Europe. The younger students have completed a quiz about Europe and have also been learning about some of the traditional dress worn in European countries.
Did you know that...
- There are between 6000 and 7000 languages in the world - spoken by 7 billion people divided into 189 independent states.
- At least half of the world’s population are bilingual or plurilingual, i.e. they speak two or more languages.
- In their daily lives, Europeans increasingly come across foreign languages. There is a need to generate a greater interest in languages among European citizens.
- Many languages have 50.000 words or more, but individual speakers normally know and use only a fraction of the total vocabulary: in everyday conversation people use the same few hundred words.
- Languages are constantly in contact with each other and affect each other in many ways: English borrowed words and expressions from many other languages in the past, European languages are now borrowing many words from English.
- Most European languages belong to three broad groups: Germanic, Romance and Slavic.
Alice Ragouzaridis-Clark, Primary MFL Coordinator