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European Day of Languages

Presented by EUi NAPA

Speaking points:

European Day of Languages.

Why is it important to learn

How to learn language? How EUi can

assist you
Interesting facts about languages

European Day of Languages

The highlight of the European Year of Languages
2001 was the European Day of Languages, which
was celebrated for the first time on 26
September 2001 in all 45 states taking part in
the campaign. On the eve of the closing event of
the Year, the Committee of Ministers of the
Council of Europe decided to declare the
European Day of Languages to be celebrated on
26th September each year. Its aim is to
encourage language learning across Europe.

The general objectives are:

to alert the public to the importance of

language learning and diversify the
range of languages learned in order to
increase plurilingualism and intercultural
to promote the rich linguistic and
cultural diversity of Europe;
to encouraging lifelong language
learning in and out of school, whether for
study purposes, for professional needs, for
purposes of mobility or for pleasure and

Why a European Day of


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
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. Even if you only know a few words
of the language of the country that you visit (for example on
holiday), this enables you to make new friends and contacts.
Learning other peoples' languages is a way of helping us to
understand each other better and overcome our cultural
Language skills are a necessity and a right for
EVERYONE that is one of the main messages of the
European Day of Languages.

Official web-site of European Day of Languages:
General links:

The EUs Multilingualism website provides the latest

updates on EU initiatives and events linked to languages:
BBC English Learning portal:

The languages of the

European Union
The languages of the European Union are languages
used by people within the member states of the European
Union. They include the twenty-three official languages of
the European Union along with a range of others. The EU
asserts that it is in favour of linguistic diversity and currently
has a European Commissioner for Multilingualism, Leonard
There are more member states in the EU than there are
official languages. This is because some member states share
national languages such as Dutch in the Netherlands and
Belgium, French in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
While documents for and communication with citizens
are in every official EU language as a right, day-to-day work in
the European Commission is based around its three working
languages: English, French, and German. Of these English is
used most often. Only a handful of Commissioners use a non7
English tongue as their working language.

My first question?
Why is it important
to learn foreign
(for you as public servant
or for you as an ordinary

My answer is
The activity of public officials associated with intensive
oral and written communication, provides extensive
language practice requires precise expression of concepts
and categories in various fields of public administration.
Therefore, a thorough knowledge of not only the native
language, but foreign is important for professional and
personal development.
Example from Canada.
Language Requirements: In the public service, positions require
knowledge of English, French or both English and French. When
both official languages are required, the position is designated
Approximately 40% of positions in the Public Service of Canada
require knowledge of both official languages. A person knowing one
official language can reach executive level in most parts of Canada.
The language requirements of each position differs, and are
determined based on an objective assessment of the duties and
responsibilities of the position. If the position requires the
knowledge of both official languages, the manager will also
determine the prociency level, in English and in French, in each of
three language skills: Reading, Writing, and Oral Interaction.

My answer is
I need yours answers

Personal Development
By learning a new language, you gain new horizons, but at the same
time you reinforce your own identity, and therefore also your selfconfidence. A foreign language can contribute to a stronger personality.
Cultural Reasons
It is a fundamental truth that cultures define themselves through
languages. A foreign language gives you access to another culture. It
gives you the ability to communicate and to exchange views with people
all over the world that you would otherwise not have the chance to
Educational Reasons
Learning a foreign language opens up a whole new dimension. It has a
positive effect on intellectual growth and it enriches and enhances
mental development. Learning a foreign language is especially effective
at an early age. It greatly benefits reading and writing in ones own
language; there's evidence that, like musical education, it contributes
significantly to the development of individual intelligence.
Economic Reasons
In a globalized world characterized by international links and
intercultural connections, linguistic skills are crucial for employment and
career. The knowledge of foreign languages increases job opportunities
in many careers where knowing another language is a real asset.


Why should I learn a

If your work involves regular contact with speakers of foreign
languages, being able to talk to them in their own languages will
help you to communicate with them. It may also help you to
make sales and to negotiate and secure contracts. Knowledge of
foreign languages may also increase your chances of finding a
new job, getting a promotion or a transfer overseas, or of going
on foreign business trips.
Study or research
You may find that information about subjects you're interested in
is published mainly in a foreign language. Learning that language
will give you access to the material and enable you to
communicate with fellow students and researchers in the field.

Language is the archives of history.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
When you move to a different country or region, learning the
local language will help you to communicate and integrate with
the local community.


Why should I learn a

Family and friends
If your partner, in-laws, relatives or friends speak a different
language, learning that language will help you to communicate with
them. It will also give you a better understanding of their culture and
way of thinking.
Many English speakers seem to believe that wherever you go on
holiday you can get by speaking English, so there's no point in
learning any other languages. If people don't understand you all you
have to do is speak slowly and turn up the volume. You can more or
less get away with this, as long as you stick to popular tourist resorts
and hotels where you can usually find someone who speaks English.
The limits of my language are the limits of my universe.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein)
Studying abroad
If you plan to study at a foreign university, college or school, you'll
need a good knowledge of the local language, unless the course you
want to study is taught through the medium of your L1. Your
institution will probably provide preparatory courses to improve your
language skills and continuing support throughout your main course.


Why should I learn a

Secret communication
If you and some of your relatives, friends or colleagues speak a
language that few people understand, you can talk freely in public
without fear of anyone eavesdropping, and/or you can keep any
written material secret. Speakers of such Native American
languages as Navajo, Choctaw and Cheyenne served as radio
operators, know as Code Talkers, to keep communications secret
during both World Wars. Welsh speakers played a similar role
during the Bosnian War.
Getting in touch with your roots
If your family spoke a particular language in the past you might
want to learn it and possibly teach it to your children. It could also
be useful if you are research your family tree and some of the
documents you find are written in a language foreign to you.
Perhaps you enjoy the food and/or drink of a particular country or
region and make regular trips there, or the recipe books you want
to use are only available in a foreign language
Linguistic interest
Maybe you're interested in linguistic aspects of a particular
language and decide to learn it in order to understand them better.


Range of jobs learning a

language can offer:
International Organizations

International organizations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, the Red
Cross, and Amnesty International will always need people with language skills for a range of
functions from administrative work to management. Most will need a cross section of language
skills plus many speakers in the main international languages such as English, French, Spanish
and Arabic.
The Foreign Service

National governments demand huge numbers of foreign language speakers for their Foreign
Service departments. Working for the Foreign Service could mean living and working abroad in
an embassy, liaising with counterparts in other countries, listening to intelligence reports in
foreign languages and translating them and conducting research in foreign languages.
The Foreign Service is usually a challenge to get into; however, it is well known that language
skills help bolster applicants' profiles.
Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industries

Speaking a foreign language makes you a good candidate for positions within the tourism and
hospitality industries.
Many companies send staff to man local offices abroad, which means speakers of the native
languages are required. In addition, the international nature of such companies usually means
they have a global presence and that staff with language skills are critical to their day to day
operations and future expansion. Even at home, where hotels, leisure complexes, restaurants
receive large numbers of foreign visitors, speakers of foreign languages are needed to offer
good customer service.
Translation & Interpreting

Once language skills have reached a good level, translating and interpreting become an option.


Some facts about English

English is a west Germanic language, most closely related
to Frisian and Scots.
600,000,000 speakers
In what countries within Europe English is official
In Europe English is the official language in the United
Kingdom, Gibraltar, Ireland and Malta.
It is one of the official languages of the European Union
and of the United Nations.
English is written in the Roman alphabet.
English, either as a mother tongue or as a second/foreign
language, is spoken by 51% of EU citizens, followed by
German with 32% and French with 28% of those asked.


Some facts about English


English is the language most often studied as a foreign

language in the European Union, by 89% of schoolchildren,
ahead of French at 32%, while the perception of the
usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is
68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French.

Among EU citizens, 38% indicate that they know English,

followed by 14% mastering French or German, 7%
Russian, 5% Spanish and 3% Italian. The typical
multilingual European is a student or holds a managerial
position or was born in a country where a different
language is spoken from the language of his/her parents.

Most books are published in English, and most are

translated in English. English, even bad, is the standard
language of scientific publications, aviation, tourism,
finance, and diplomacy.


How to learn language?

If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
(Nelson Mandela)

Think about what you want to be able to do.

Plan your language learning in way that suits you.
How and where do you want to learn?
And what sort of methods and materials would suit you?
Choose your approach to learning
Find and choose course

At the end of presentation I will

distribute useful materials.


Do not forget
You need communication and practice
Discussion clubs, new pen-friends or take a
tour to England.
You can visit different cultural event film and
music festivals, etc.
Europe Day celebration with a wide range
of events and action each year.
Studying a foreign language takes patience
and hard work, but you can succeed.
Visit our EUi we can assist you


Information Center of
European Union or EUi
The main purpose of our activity - spreading
information about the European Union and its
policies among all those interested in the life of
the EU countries.
European Union Information Centre receives
information from the official institutions of the
European Union - European Commission, Council of
Europe, Eurostat, the Committee on Social Policy
Committee of the Regions, European Investment Bank,
CEDEFOP (Centre for Vocational Education). European
Union Information Centre has a wide range of diverse
publications, periodicals, magazines, the EU statistical
collections of European economics and law, and other
materials concerning the activities of the EU.
How to contact:


EUi and Search of information


EUi gives access to printing and on-line resources

about EU, EU institutions and life in Europe.

EUi can help you to find different information using

searching engines and databases.

EUi is your ticket to latest news about EU, relation


Gateway to the European Union - Official

portal to the European Union with news and
information about its activities, institutions,
policies and programs.


Managed by the Publications Office of the European Union, EU
Bookshop gives you online access to the European Unions
official publications.
o You can download them as PDF files or (for some) order
copies to be sent to you at home.


Interesting facts
about languages game
Languages records:

How many languages are there in the World?



Comment: Its not easy to place a definitive number on the
worlds languages: currently estimate is 6.000- 7.000.
Many have become extinct, others are in process of being
Which three languages are most popular among
Internet users?



Comment: German ranks sixth (59 million) among languages
employed by internet users, behind Japanese and French.
With around 366 million users, English is number one,
followed by Chinese (184 mil) and Spanish (102 mil).


Interesting facts
about languages game

What is the most widely spoken language in the




Comment: Standard Mandarin is the native tongue of approx.
850 million people and official language in China, Taiwan
and Singapore. Hindi is spoken by more than 600 million
people, followed by Spanish and English.


What country has the most official languages?



Comment: Besides the two supra-regional languages of English
and Hindi, 21 languages are officially recognized in India.
The countrys constitution ensures that every minority is
granted the right to their own language.


Interesting facts
about languages game
What language has the fewest consonants?


Comment: The language of Polynesian natives of Hawaii
consists of 12 letters, 8 of which are consonants. The
meaning of many words can only be discerned through
subtle differences in pronunciation.
What language spoken today was revived only 120
years ago?



Comment: Spoken Hebrew ceased to exist in second century
AD. About 120 yeas ago, a successful effort was mounted
to restore this lost language. Modern Hebrew, also
called Ivrit, is now the official language of the state of


Interesting facts
about languages game
Language Curios:

When you ask a Greek something and he answers

ne, its means..?

Comment: In this case it is easy for misunderstanding to arise
since ne means yes. To say no, a Greek shakes his
head, raises the eyebrows, clicks with his tongues or say
When you order L in Sweden, you get?



Comment: Although Swedish and German belong to the same
Indo-European language group, a Swede ordering L will
be treated to a beer. In German, you would get oil, which
in Swedish is olja

Interesting facts
about languages game
What language has 27 different words for



Comment: A moustache is quite an important matter in
When a Japanese businessman offers a deal to
European business partner, and the partner
keeps silent, the Japanese will consider his offer
as ?



still be discussed
Comment: The meaning of silence varies greatly in
different cultures. In Western world silence can be
interpreted as a sign of rejection. In Japan it implies

Interesting facts
about languages game

What is the only Germanic language with an origin

outside of Europe?



Comment: Afrikaans, one of the official languages in South
Africa, evolved from its Dutch roots, incorporating various
African dialects.


In which of European language foreign words are

avoided at all?



Comment: In Icelandic, one of the oldest European languages,
foreign words are avoided as much as possible. Iceland
even created a committee that substitutes terms of
modern life, science and engineering with new Icelandic


Interesting facts
about languages game
European Languages:

How many official languages are spoken in the European




Comment: There are currently 23 official languages in the
European Union; the latest additions were Gaelic, Bulgarian
and Romanian. In the European Parliament speeches can be
delivered in any official language and are translated
Which European country is called Suomi by its



Comment: The Finns call their country Suomi. The original
meaning of Suo-maa was Swampland. Officially Finland is
bilingual, though more than 90% of its citizens claim Finnish as
their native tongue.

Interesting facts
about languages game
What is the only country in which Latin is the official


Vatican City

Comment: In Vatican City, the worlds smallest internationally
recognized country, Latin is the official language. This
enclave, located within the city of Rome, has a little more
than 500 citizens. Vatican City is an absolute
monarchy, with the Pope at its head.
What is the native tongue of most Europeans?



Comment: German is the first language of about 100 million
Europeans and hence, the one spoken most within EU,
followed by English and French. The most popular second
language inside the EU is English.


Interesting facts
about languages game

Which European language isnt related to any



Comment: Basque, spoken primary in the north-east of Spain
and the south-west of France, isnt related to any other


Arabic was once spoken in which European




Comment: In medieval times, the empire of Al-Andalus

controlled the Iberian Peninsula. To this day the Alhambra,
a Moorish palace in Spanish town Granada, remains a
gorgeous remnant of that empire.


Interesting facts
about languages game
What is the only Semitic language in European Union?


Comment: Maltese, besides English the second official language
on Malta, the only Semitic language within EU. After the
southernmost country in Europe joined the EU, Maltese,
which is closely related to Arabic was added to the list of
official EU languages.
Which is the only Celtic language to be recognized as
an official language in Europe?



Comment: Irish is the only Celtic language recognized as official
state language in Europe and has been one of the 23 official
languages of EU since the beginning of 2007. 1,6 million
people speak Irish, only around 7000 speakers.



"A different language is a different vision of life." Federico Fellini, Italian film director
"Those who know nothing of foreign languages,
knows nothing of their own." - Johann Wolfgang von
"The individual's whole experience is built upon the
plan of his language." - Henri Delacroix, French
painter and filmmaker
"As the traveler who has once been from home is
wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so
a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our
ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more
lovingly, our own." - Margaret Mead, American
You live a new life for every new language you speak.
If you know only one language, you live only once.
(Czech proverb)


Thank you for