At Spotahome, a multi-lingual company since the very beginning, we speak 9 languages and have over 30 different nationalities in our team.
This is why, on the 26th of September we are going to celebrate the European Day of Languages. Since 2001, this is the day to celebrate all of Europe’s 225 languages and to promote language learning.
Why celebrate European Languages Day?
The holiday aims to promote the following objectives:
- awareness of Europe’s rich linguistic diversity,
- the need to diversify the range of languages people learn,
- the need for people to develop proficiency in two languages or more.
10 facts you didn't know about European languages
1 - 225 languages
Europe is home to 225 indigenous languages. So much more than French, Italian and German, right?
2 - English? No, Спасибо
With 150 million speakers, the most widely spoken language in Europe is Russian. The second, with 95 million speakers is German. Turkish comes third with 80 million. English and French are both fourth with 65 million.
3 - Different scripts
European languages use the following scripts: Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Georgian.
4 - London, capital of languages
At least 300 languages are spoken in London.
5 - Bilingualism
56% of EU citizens speak at least one language on top their native tongue.
6 - The advantages of being bilingual
Jobs are more easily available to those who speak more than one language.
7 - Endangered languages
Over 150 European languages and/or dialects are classified as endangered by UNESCO.
8 - Learning process
Only at around one year, babies pronounce the first understandable words. At around three years, complex sentences are formed. At five years, a child possesses several thousand words. Fascinating right?
9 - The roots
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. The Romance languages include Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian and more. The Slavic languages include Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and others.
10 - 50.000 words
Many languages have 50.000 words or more. However, most people normally use only a tiny fraction of the vocabulary. In everyday conversation people use the same few hundred words.
Now that you've learnt all of this, why don't you test you own knowledge? Take the test here
Every year, the European Day of Languages sees a variety of events and celebrations, including workshops, school projects, meetups, and exhibitions.
For instance, the Dia Europeu das Línguas 2018 will take place in the Medieval town of Óbidos near Lisbon. The Europe House in London will host The Sign Languages, while a Conference on Translation will be one of the events in Madrid.
Check the full events list here to see what's happening near you.
How are you going to celebrate this year's European Languages Day? Let us know in the comments below!
Read more about languages here:
The Lazy Person's Guide to Learning a Language
How to Find Jobs in Spain for English Speakers
How to Find a Job in Italy for English Speakers
How To Speak Like A True Italian
The Quickest & Easiest Way To Learning the Local Language