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Fun facts about the European Day of Languages

Fun facts about the European Day of Languages

In case you are looking for a reason to throw a little party, look no further and put on your party hat right now: the 26th September is the European Day of Languages – a day that is a bit like Christmas for language-lovers across this almost 750-million strong continent.

From boosting brain activity to giving you awesome friends around the world, speaking more than one language is a sure-fire way to get ahead of the curve; it’s also a fact that unites many Europeans who are already bilingual, and who – after reading this post – will probably be dying to show off their linguistic chops and maybe even develop them further.

Over 200 languages

There are over 200 indigenous languages in Europe – that sounds like a lot but it’s actually only about three percent of the world’s total of 6000-7000.

More than half of Europe is bilingual

According to an EU survey, 54 percent of EU citizens speak another language, 25 percent speak two foreign languages (high five!).

Mixed alphabets

The majority of European languages are still based around the Latin alphabet. The Cyrillic alphabet is still used by some Slavic languages, while Greek, Armenian, Georgian and Yiddish have their own alphabets.

It’s all about German

German is the most widely spoken mother tongue (18 percent), followed by English and Italian (both 13 percent), and French (12 percent).

Sticking to the basics

Although there are languages that have over 50,000 words, most speakers only know and use a small portion of this vocabulary. In fact, during day-to-day conversations, people tend to default to the same few hundred words to chat and express themselves.

English still rules

Despite the UK leaving the EU, English remains one of the official EU languages. It’s considered the most useful language, followed by French and German.

Borrowed words

While English remains top of the list, around 45-50% of English words come from the French language.

One of the greatest things about living in Europe is that so many other languages and cultures are only a few hours away. From immersion to practicing your language skills with locals and discovering a new culture – it’s just so easy and convenient. Another language is (literally) around the corner, and that alone is a reason to celebrate today.

So let’s raise our glasses for European Language Day and drink to the beautiful diversity that unites us: Nazdrave! Živjeli! Na zdraví! Skål! Proost! Cheers! Tervist! Kippis! Santé ! Prosit! Stin iyá su! Kedves egészségére! Sláinte! Salute! Uz veselību! Į sveikatą! Evviva! Na zdrowie! Viva! Noroc! Na zdravie! Živijo! ¡Salud! Skål!

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