Respect for the European Day of Languages 2010

european-day-languagesOn the occasion of the annual European Day of Languages celebrated throughout the Council of Europe’s 47 member states, respect for others’ languages, cultures and identities is a precondition for creating a European space for mutual respect and cooperation in Europe, said Minister Antonio Miloshoski, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

He stressed that: “Linguistic intolerance and insecurity are best countered through language learning and intercultural understanding, or ‘compréhension’ in French, or ‘skilningur’ in Icelandic, or ‘mõistmine’ in Estonian, or ‘tuiscint’ in Irish, or ‘zrozumienie’ in Polish or ‘razbiranje’ in Macedonian.”

What is the European Day of Languages?

The European Day of Languages is on 26 September each year.  Over 800 million people across 47 countries in Europe are encouraged to learn languages and to take part in activities to celebrate linguistic diversity and the benefits of being able to speak another language. Many people – young and old – are encouraged to take up a language, or take special pride in their existing language skills. Those responsible for providing access to language learning  are encouraged to make it easier for people to learn a range of languages, and to support policy initiatives to promote languages.

Why do we need a European Day of Languages?

While many people agree that everyone should be able to speak another language, in many countries in Europe only about half can converse in a language other than their own. There have never been more opportunities to work or study in a different European country – but lack of language competence prevents many people from taking advantage of them. Globalisation and patterns of business ownership mean that citizens increasingly need foreign language skills to work effectively within their own countries. Europe is rich in languages – there are over 200 European languages and many more spoken by citizens whose family origin is from other continents. This is an important resource to be recognised, used and cherished. Language learning brings benefits to young and old – you are never too old to learn a language and to enjoy the opportunities it opens up. Learning other peoples’ languages is a way of helping us to understand each other better and overcome our cultural differences.

What are the aims of the European Day of Languages?

The Council of Europe has declared 26 September an annual European Day of Languages, following the success of the European Year of Languages in 2001:

  • to alert the public to the importance of language learning
  • to increase awareness and appreciation of ALL the languages spoken in Europe
  • to encourage lifelong language learning.

To find out about events across Europe for the European Day of Languages, visit the official European Day of Languages website>>

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