This Friday, 26 September, is European Day of Languages when people across the European Union are meant to get together to celebrate language and cultural diversity. The day is sponsored by the Council of Europe and in their words is designed to be:
• A Europe-wide celebration of all the world’s languages
• A day to kick-start language learning
• A chance to raise awareness about the value of language skills
The Day was first celebrated in 2001 and has grown every year since. And the recent expansion of the EU has seen languages such as Latvian, Lithuanian and Romanian added to the languages being celebrated.
And it is not only European languages. In my house what the day has meant is that my daughter, who normally has to wear a uniform to school, is going in dressed in a Punjabi national costume that her aunt brought her from a trip to India. And other girls will be wearing national costumes from across the globe celebrating the multi-cultural, multi-lingual nature of the school and London as a whole.
To help everyone celebrate European Day of Languages, here is a PDF guide to saying “hello” in all the EU’s native languages and some more besides.