Did you know there are between 6000 and 7000 languages in the world; spoken by 7 billion people divided into 189 independent states? There are about 225 indigenous languages in Europe - roughly 3% of the world’s total. Surely that’s cause for celebration!
European language celebrations first began in 2001 with the European Year of Languages, jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union. It was so successful that the Council of Europe declared a European Day of Languages to be celebrated on 26th of September each year.
Why celebrate European Day of Languages? The Council of Europe’s key objectives are to raise awareness of:
- Europe’s rich linguistic diversity, which must be preserved and enhanced
- The need to diversify the range of languages people learn (to include less widely used languages), which results in plurilingualism
- The need for people to develop some degree of proficiency in two languages or more to be able to play their full part in democratic citizenship in Europe.
Everyone can get involved in some way in the European Day of Languages! Schools, colleges and universities organise a variety events such as: language cafés; film evenings; quizzes; and language tasters.