European Day of Languages – 26th September 2017

This is a day when we come together to celebrate the 6,000+ languages spoken around the world, to promote language learning and have some multilingual fun!  In the Modern Foreign Languages Faculty we have a range of fun activities organized: 

  • There’ll be a European Quiz—fun for all the family and very informative.
  • In tutor groups we’re running the annual bumper languages quiz. Pupils work together in their groups and submit their entries  by Friday 29th September 2017.  The prize is something lovely to share!
  • There’ll aslo be a ‘pick a language’ raffle, where students can win a languages goody bag. Cost is £1 per entry with all proceeds going to charity.

Did You Know ………

There are over 6900 languages spoken on a daily basis around the world today?  Among these languages however, at least 20 share an interesting feature – when it comes to describing colour, they have distinct terms only for black, white, and red!  With this in mind, it is heartening to know that in Europe our choice of words for colours extends far beyond the reach of only three colours, and they are also widely used to express moods, emotions and personal characteristics.  We see them in idiomatic descriptions such as blue for tranquility, pink for love, green for the natural world.  Equally, these notions can often be turned on their head and we can also feel ‘a bit blue’, ‘see red’ or even be ‘green with envy’!  The use of colours in our European languages is very symbolic and as a result gives rise to a rich and varied list of idioms.

A Little Bit Of Language Trivia

  • 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.
  • Most of the world’s languages are spoken in Asia and Africa.
  • At least half the world’s population is bilingual.
  • In their daily lives, Europeans increasingly come across foreign languages. There is a need to generate a greater interest in languages among European citizens.
  • Languages are constantly in contact with each other and affect each other in many ways.  For example, English borrowed words and expressions from many other languages in the past and now European languages are borrowing many words from English.
  • Bilingualism brings with it many benefits. It makes the learning of additional languages easier, enhances the thinking process and fosters contacts with other people and their cultures.  It has economic advantages, too.  Jobs are more easily available to those who speak several languages, and multilingual companies have a better competitive edge than monolingual ones.
  • Languages are related to each other like the members of a family. Most European languages belong to the large Indo-European family.
  • Most European languages belong to three broad groups: Germanic, Romance and Slavic.
  • The Germanic family of languages includes Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, German, Dutch, English and Yiddish, among others.
  • The Romance languages include Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian, among others.
  • The Slavic languages include Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and others.
  • Most European languages use the Latin alphabet. Some Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet. Greek, Armenian, Georgian and Yiddish have their own alphabet.
  • Most countries in Europe have a number of regional or minority languages – some of these have obtained official status.
  • The non-European languages most widely used on European territory are Arabic, Chinese and Hindi, each with its own writing system.
  • Russia (148 million inhabitants) has by far the highest number of languages spoken on its territory: from 130 to 200 depending on the criteria.
  • Due to the influx of migrants and refugees, Europe has become largely multilingual. In London alone some 300 languages are spoken (Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Berber, Hindi, Punjabi, etc.).

Download the file below and try out our fun quiz at home:

European Language Quiz