On the occasion of the European Day of Languages (26 September) the Council of Europe celebrates linguistic diversity with a strong message: “Well developed language skills are a necessity and a right for everyone” as declared by Snežana Samardžic-Markovic, Director General of Democracy (see Declaration in English and French).
Since the very first European Day of Languages in 2002 the ECML has played a leading role in coordinating the Day at international level , working together with the Language Policy Unit in Strasbourg and a network of National Relays in the participating countries (currently covering 40 European states and Canada) to highlight the importance of languages and linguistic and cultural diversity and to encourage people to learn languages.
Over 200 European languages are in daily use around Europe and many other languages are spoken by citizens whose family origins are in other continents. This year’s celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity will be marked by 100's of events organised in over 50 countries. An indication of the success and popularity of the Day is that this year many events are taking place well beyond Europe, as far afield as Uzbekistan, South Korea and Senegal as well as in the United States, Canada, India and Australia.
The events come in all shapes and sizes from quizzes, language cafés, language taster sessions to multilingual choirs, twinning projects, language festivals, poetry competitions and major language education and language policy conferences.
According to a Eurobarometer survey on EU citizens' attitudes towards multilingualism and foreign language learning published in June 2012, almost nine out of ten EU citizens believe that the ability to speak foreign languages is very useful, and 98% say that mastering languages is good for their children's future.
On the 26 September the Council of Europe will join the European Commission in celebrating the Day at the conference ''Multilingualism in Europe'' in Cyprus.
The Council of Europe will be involved in a number of events taking place in celebration of the Day:
- Warsaw - 24 September: The international conference on “ICT and Social Media in Language Education” involves a keynote speech by the Director of the ECML, Waldemar Martyniuk, and a workshop by the “Developing Online Teaching Skills” team of the ECML.
- Graz – European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) - 25 September: press conference and open day at the ECML (see programme - in German). The Austrian Association of the ECML will also be broadcasting a short publicity film promoting the Day on the trams and buses in Graz on 26 September.
- Cyprus – 26-28 September: the Council of Europe will be represented and host a stand at the “Multilingualism in Europe” conference sponsored by the European Commission. In parallel, the European Centre for Modern Languages training consultancy event on “Constructing and validating language tests linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)” will be take place in Nicosia.
What is new for EDL’12?
- The EDL website is now available in 16 languages: Albanian, Croatian, Czech, English, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish.
- Assess your own language skills: The 'Self-evaluate your language skills' game helps you to assess your level of proficiency in the languages you know according to six reference levels defined within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The game is now available in 12 languages: English, French, Galician, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish.
- The Council of Europe EDL video clip will be broadcasted on both the French and German channels of ARTE throughout the day on 26 September.
- EDL Calendar of activities: find out what is going on around Europe and the world on the EDL. Over 350 EDL activities in the events calendar and counting... Event organisers are encouraged to promote their activities in the calendar, no matter how big or small!
Vote for this year’s most innovative event!
This can be due to its creativity, transferability or just because it truly represents the spirit of the Day. Voting is now open for one month from 20 September – 20 October. Voting simple - just click on the ‘thumbs up’ icon beside your chosen event. There will a small prize for the organiser of the event which receives the most votes. The winner will be announced in November.
Use the online resources!