Jump to content
The Education Forum

European Day of Languages

Graham Davies

Recommended Posts

Dear Colleagues

Just a reminder that it's the European Day of Languages on 26 September 2004. The ECML in Graz has several Web pages celebrating the event: http://www.ecml.at/edl/

Can anyone help identify the languages on the "Talk to me" stickers at:


My first shot - just an intelligent guess - follows. I am sure I have got a few wrong:

1. English, 2. French, 3. German , 4. Italian

5. Spanish, 6. Greek, 7. Latvian, 8. Dutch

9 Estonian, 10. Romanian, 11. Catalan, 12. Croatian

13. Macedonian, 14. Armenian, 15. Bulgarian, 16. Finnish

17. Czech, 18. Lithuanian, 19. Icelandic, 20. Albanian

21. Polish, 22. Maltese, 23. Slovenian, 24. Russian

25. Portuguese, 26. Norwegian, 27. Serbian, 28. Swedish

29. Slovakian, 30. Hungarian, 31. Georgian, 32. Turkish

33. Danish, 34. Ukranian, 35. Azerbajdjanian, 36. Gaelic

37. Letzeburgesch, 38. Rumansch, 39. Belorussian

I picked up some nice multilingual stickers and postcards at the Linguanet Europa stand at EUROCALL 2004. These have been published by CILT/ALL for the European Day of Languages: http://www.cilt.org.uk/edl/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are still puzzling over the languages at the ECML website, I have

been contacted by CILT who confirm that I got them all right, with a few

suggested additions/corrections:

10. Add Moldovan as well as Romanian

12. Add Bosnian as well as Croatian

35. Azerbajdjanian is known as Azeri

36. Irish

My own comments on the above:

10. Moldovan is a variety of Romanian. Moldova was part of the Soviet Union

and cut off from Romania (which borders it) until the fall of the Berlin

Wall in 1989 - and then the language reverted to its original Roman

alphabet, having been written in Cyrillic under Soviet rule. When Moldova

found its national identity again the language enjoyed a revival.

12. Bosnian is variety of Serbo-Croatian and has also found its identity

now that Bosnia is recognised as a separate country rather than a federal

state of what used to be Yugoslavia. Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian are

mutually comprehensible.

35. Azeri is the correct term for the language.

36. Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic are very close. I evaluated an EC-funded

email project in 1994 which involved linking schools in one of the

Gaeltacht regions of Ireland (West Galway) with schools in the Outer

Hebrides in Scotland. The children had few problems understanding written

email exchanges - but it might have been different if they had been

speaking to one another as spoken Gaelic has strong regional variations,

even within the Gaeltacht in Ireland. Welsh (my father's language) -

although part of the same Celtic group of languages - is a lot different

from Gaelic, but some words are similar. While travelling in the Gaeltacht

last year I could make sense of some place names.

Re Moldovan and Bosnian, the difference between a language and a dialect is

often determined by political considerations rather than linguistic

considerations. Max Weinreich described a language thus: "A language is a

dialect with an army and a navy" - or "A shprakh iz a diyalekt mit an armey

un a flot" in the original Yiddish ("Yivo and the problems of our time",

Yivo-Bleter, 1945, Vol. 25, No. 1, p. 13.)

I speak and understand High German, but I cannot understand Swiss German or

Bavarian/Tyrolean, both of which are described my many linguists as

dialects of German, but they fulfil the criteria for being considered

different languages from High German. "Eichhörnchen" (squirrel) in German

is "Oachkatzel" in Bavarian/Tyrolean - "Oachkatzelschwoaf" ("squirrel's

tail" and also the name of an alcoholic cocktail) being a shibboleth to

test whether you can really speak Bavarian/Tyrolean. Scots (Lallans, not

Gaelic) and Ulster Scots (Ullans) are classified as different languages

from English. I've often been in situations in Scotland and Northern

Ireland when I have completel failed to understand what was being said to

me - but, having been married to a Belfast Girl for more than 30 years, my

ear is now tuned into Ulster Scots and I understand perfectly expressions

such as "he got a quare gunk" and "thon wee fellow fernenst me". See the

European Minority Languages website:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Dear Colleagues

I just thought that I would try to revive this tread as the European Day of Languages is approaching fast. Are you doing anything special in your school? What has the response been by colleagues from other faculties? if any or if involved.

I have just started in a new post in Cheshire and I am pleased to see that the Languages has got a pretty high profile, possibly because we have a Dep Head and an Asst Head in the Faculty...

This is what we've organised (I say WE but I mean the Head of Faculty):

-an inter-tutor quiz about languages and European countries and cultures

-willing teachers to greet students in a foreign language

-students are challenged to teach teachers a aord or a fact about a language or country (which they didn't alrready know)

One of the Maths NQTs, who is fluent in French is planning to do her lessons in French for that day too. I think this is fantastic and I am positively impressed ny the lack of reluctance of the staff here to get stuck in!

Tell us all about your plans or what you have done in the past or did if you don't get to read this before Monday...

Happy European Day of Languages

Joyeuse Journee Europeenne des Langues


Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a lively thread concerning the European Day of Languages around 10 days ago in the Linguanet Forum at


Lots of interesting suggestions came in from teachers.

The European Award for Languages 2005 is being presented on the 2005 European Day of Languages, Mon 26 September, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Sir Trevor McDonald. I have been invited to attend this event.

See CILT's website for further information about the European Day of Languages


Try the A-Z challenge: How many languages can you say "Hello" in? I counted 15 languages in which I can greet someone - and also order a beer!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...