Today is The European Day of Languages, did you know that? No? Many others didnt either.
The celebration is an annual event that occurs on 26 September and, to quote the European Commissions website:
It celebrates the linguistic diversity of a continent with
- over 200 European languages,
- 24 official EU languages,
- about 60 regional/minority languages,
- and many more spoken by people from other parts of the world.
Many member states of the European Union honour this day by hosting a series of events related to language either on 26 September or in the week that surrounds this day of multilingual, multicultural celebration. The UK has various activities planned, from workshops in different languages to sessions providing information about language learning. We mention the UK as an example here as it is a nation that is notorious for its lack of language learning. Recent years have seen a decline in the study of languages at GCSE, A-Level and University. Despite initiatives such as the EBacc (English Baccalaureate) that require certain groups of students to study a language, Colleges and Universities have seen a substantial decrease in students choosing languages and consequently the number of courses on offer, and sometimes the variety of languages available have been cut due to lack of demand.
Whilst many Britons may think this is no cause for concern, we think differently. English may be considered the lingua franca in many situations and contexts, but there is no reason why we shouldnt learn a new language and a bit about the culture too. At Intrawelt WE LOVE LANGUAGES, so we have put a list together of why YOU SHOULD TOO!
Learning a language:
- increases your job opportunities: as globalisation increases on a daily basis, so does the demand for bi- or multi- lingual employees
- keeps your mind healthy: improves cognitive skills and may delay onset of Alzheimers and Dementia
- enhances your travelling experiences: speaking the local lingo can go a long way; whether it leads to finding the best restaurant, making your travel cheaper or making new friends
- can lead to life-long cross-cultural friendships: learning someone elses language is considered respectful and allows deep connections to be made
- makes you better at decision making: studies show that solving a problem in ones second language leads to a more logical conclusion
- improves your native language: everybody who has ever tried to learn another language knows it involves a lot of grammar and new vocabulary, but these skills are transferable to your native language too!
- helps you to appreciate cultural diversity: open up door after door and learn things about cultures different to your own that you wouldnt be able to discover without knowing the language!
- makes you more creative: whether writing, dancing, singing, acting, painting or engaging in any other creative activity, learning a language really helps!
- is so much fun! Sure, therell be ups and downs on your linguistic journey, but it opens so many doors and can be so enjoyable!
To learn more about the benefits of learning a language check out this TED-Ed video The benefits of a bilingual brain with Italian subtitles (just in case you wanted to start language learning now which you should!):