International EDL speak-dating evenings for linguistically adventurous types were held in Germany’s cosmopolitan Berlin and the Czech Republic’s magnetic capital, Prague.
There were also hundreds of other language-related events taking place across Europe, from a multilingual rap concert in Zagreb to a “Think German” career fair in Glasgow, Scotland, and a stroll down Language Street in Bratislava, Slovakia. Forty-seven European countries, as well as Canada, French Polynesia and the United Arab Emirates held events to celebrate the day.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "The European Day of Languages is the day when we celebrate Europe's linguistic diversity and the benefits of language learning. We stand for both because linguistic diversity is a fundamental part of our European cultural identity – and the ability to speak different languages is a passport to a world of opportunities. There are events taking place all over Europe, in classrooms, community centers, cultural institutes, restaurants and outdoors, so do see what's happening near you and join the celebration."
"The European Day of Languages is for everybody! More than ever language and communication represent central aspects of our society. Language learning offers a way of opening our minds to new perspectives and cultures," added Ólöf Ólafsdóttir, Director of Democratic Citizenship and Participation at the Council of Europe.
The Commission co-organized two special conferences to mark the EDL: in Vilnius, Lithuania, 400 participants took part in a debate on “Unity in diversity – languages for mobility, jobs and active citizenship”. It focused on the importance of languages for mobility and employment prospects, as well as the need more multilingual digital content and support for less commonly taught or spoken languages. Today (27 September), the Commission is hosting a conference in Brussels, Belgium, entitled “Translation and Mother-tongue” with special focus on Italian and Spanish.
Erasmus+, the EU's new education, training and youth program for 2014-2020, will provide support for language learning across all of its main action lines. The new program, predicted to have a budget of nearly €15 billion ($20 billion) – 40% more than existing EU mobility schemes – will provide grants for more than four million people to gain international experience and skills through study, training, or volunteering opportunities abroad. Online courses will be offered to students, apprentices, and other beneficiaries wishing to strengthen their language skills prior to going abroad. Actions to boost cooperation for innovation and good practices, as well as support for policy reform, will also receive language funding.
National agencies responsible for running Erasmus+ in the Member States will be encouraged to award the European Language Label to innovative language projects.
The European Day of Languages was first organized by the Council of Europe in 2001 as part of the European Year of Languages. The European Commission and the European Centre of Modern Languages take an active part in organizing language-related events on and around the day.
The aim of the European Day of Languages is to raise awareness of the languages used in Europe, promote cultural and linguistic diversity and encourage life-long language learning. Earlier this year, the Council of Europe and the Commission signed a partnership agreement to strengthen cooperation in promoting ICT tools for language teaching and testing, and assessment of language competences.
In the European Union there are 24 official languages, about 60 regional and minority languages, and more than 175 migrant languages. There are between 6 000 and 7 000 languages in the world, of which most are spoken in Asia and Africa. At least half of the world’s population are bilingual or plurilingual, i.e. they speak or understand two or more languages.
How to say 'I like you' in 24 EU official languages
Bulgarian – Харесвам те
Croatian – Sviđaš mi se
Czech – Líbíš se mi
Danish – Jeg kan godt lide dig
Dutch – Ik vind jou leuk
English – I like you
Estonian – Sa meeldid mulle
Finish – Tykkään sinusta
French – Tu me plais
German – Ich mag dich
Greek – Μου αρέσεις
Hungarian – Tetszel nekem
Irish – Is maith liom thú
Italian – Mi piaci
Latvian – Tu man patīc!
Lithuanian – Tu man patinki
Maltese – Togħġobni
Polish – Podobasz mi się
Portuguese – Gosto de ti
Romanian – Îmi placi
Slovak – Páčiš sa mi
Slovenian – Všeč si mi
Spanish – Me gustas
Swedish – Jag gillar dig
For more information:
MEMO/13/825 Frequently asked questions on languages in Europe
Unity in Diversity Conference website