Since 2001, at the initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union, the European Day of Languages has been successfully celebrated every 26 of September across 47 member states. http://edl.ecml.at/ The three main aims of such an event are stressing the importance of language, learning in order to develop intercultural understanding; promoting the vast linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe, and encouraging lifelong language learning.
There are 24 official languages, 5 semi-official, 39 minority and 27 sign languages in the European Union (European Commission, 2006). English is the most widely spoken language and, according to The Guardian (2014), the UK is in the top five countries where people are least likely to be able to speak any foreign language.
In order to mark this event, thousands of activities took place in schools across the EU. For instance, at Bridgwater College, a tertiary college in the UK, an international lunch was held. Students and staff have been able to taste a veritable European menu from its restaurant, including Italian meatballs with penne, Greek gyro, boulangere potatoes, Danish braised cabbage and Belgian waffles. The Spanish students created posters to highlight the importance of learning languages and also gave away copies of the booklet 1000 palabras en español, which was created by them last October in order to support the 1000 foreign words challenge which urges the UK population to learn at least 1000 words in another language ( http://www.bridgwater.ac.uk/news-article.php?year=2013&id=1608 ).
• European languages day official website: http://edl.ecml.at/
• European and their languages, European Commission, 2006. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_243_en.pdf
• Most Europeans can speak multiple languages. UK and Ireland not so much, The Guardian (published on Friday, 26 September 2014). http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/sep/26/europeans-multiple-languages-uk-ireland
• Students take part in 1000 words in Spanish project (published on Friday 8 November 2013) http://www.bridgwater.ac.uk/news-article.php?year=2013&id=1608
• Vocab Express Competition 2014 https://www.vocabexpress.com/championships/
By Itziar Simo Arroyo
Itziar is a Spanish tutor with Oxford Home Schooling