European Day of Languages

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European Day of Languages

Language is a structured form of communication that uses words and expressions by a group of people in a particular region or country. Language is a vital part of society and connecting with others. Through language, we can share our thoughts, feelings, and ideas with others. Learning a new language is a great way to build relationships and connections in the global world. For the 700 million Europeans that make up the 46 member states of the Council of Europe, it’s encouraged. This European Day of Languages (26 September), the Council reminds us that “linguistic diversity is a tool for achieving greater intercultural understanding and a key element in the rich cultural heritage of our continent.”

Fun Facts About European Languages

No one knows where language comes from, but it is essential to how society functions. In Europe, Russia is the most spoken language, with 120 million native speakers. German follows at second place with 95 million speakers. It’s also the official language of three countries, (Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein). It’s also the secondary language to three, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Here are some other interesting language facts to this fascinating construct:

  • The U.N has six official languages, and all documents are published in all these.
  • For 600 years, French was the UK’s official language.
  • More than 7000 languages are spoken globally
  • A new word is created every 98-minutes and there are over 200 languages that are now extinct.
  • Half of the global population is bilingual.
  • The origin of Spain’s Basque language is unknown although it’s spoken by around 700 00 people. It’s not related to any other language.

Benefits of Learning a New Language

We live in a globalised world. On any given day, we can communicate with individuals from different countries through social media, our travels, or at work. Learning a new language is a great benefit to help bridge the possible communication gaps.

  • Improved career prospects. Employers consider this a valuable skill. You increase your chances of promotion, working at an international office, breaking into new markets and industries, and communicating with customers and clients. Being bilingual, or trilingual, is a great addition to your resume.
  • Makes you a better communicator. When you learn a new language you not only understand a new language, but you also become better at understanding your own. You find yourself using more words and enlarging your vocabulary. This bolsters your creativity as your mind is stretched to the “new”.
  • Improves memory. The more you use your brain, the better it functions. Learning a new language gives your brain a good workout and helps you with recalling facts, figures, and more.
  • Makes you better at multitasking. When you learn a new language, you teach your brain to slip between languages as you translate and practice what you learn. This places extra demand on the brain and this switch slips into other daily functions that need multitasking.

Cultural appreciation. Learning a new language means learning about a new culture. This makes you more open, tolerant and a wider outlook on life. You soon realise that your way is not the only way, and you appreciate differences in everyone you meet.

And of course, traveling to new destinations and not worrying about the language barrier when you land will be one less stress to think about. You can begin your journey with some of our incredible free courses in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.

Creative Ways to Practice Speaking a New Language

Learning a new language is not easy. There are a myriad of tools at your disposal that you can use to master a new language. Classroom learning is fun but being out and about and is a great way to practise what you’ve learned in other settings.

  • Watch a movie. Put on a film in the language you’re learning – without subtitles (if you want to challenge yourself). Track how well you can follow the movie. And if you hear new and interesting words, look them up and add them to your vocab bundle.
  • Join a club. There are many people also learning the same language as you are. Search out one of these and meet up with the group to practice the new language in an informal setting.
  • Read. Find easy-to-read books in the language you’re learning and assess how much of the book you understand. As you improve, buy more challenging books, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Speak the language. Find someone who speaks the language and ask them to help you practice. There isn’t a better way to learn a language than to speak it. Your confidence will grow as your pronunciation, enunciation and skills improve.
  • Board games/flash cards. These techniques sound simple, and they are. But they are also very helpful and a fun way to learn.

Immerse yourself in the culture of the language you’re learning. Language and culture and interlinking. The nuances, expressions, and traditions will enrich your understanding of the language. This also helps you learn the history associated with the words and will prevent you from saying the “wrong” thing.

“The European Day of Languages is a celebration of the rich tapestry of languages which make our continent so special. Linguistic diversity is our cultural heritage. It helps us appreciate difference and helps us understand that diversity is our strength. Let us value all languages in Europe”, Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Visit our Language Hub and discover all the courses you can enrol for. We’ll have you saying ‘bonjour’, ‘ciao’, ‘hej’, or ‘olá’ and more in no time.