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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 26 September 2013

Love is … multilingualism

How do you say 'I like you' in 24 languages? This very useful information is brought to you today by the European Commission on the occasion of the European Day of Languages (EDL). It's the minimum you'll need to know if you're planning to attend an international EDL dating event, where multilingualism is the language of love. Cosmopolitan Berlin and Prague are both hosting speak-dating evenings for linguistically adventurous types: and even if you're not, at least you will now be able say 'I like you' in 24 EU official languages. There are also hundreds of other language-related events taking place across Europe, from a multilingual rap concert in Zagreb to a 'Think German' career fair in Glasgow and a stroll down Language Street in Bratislava. As well 47 European countries, other parts of the world including Canada, French Polynesia and the United Arab Emirates, are also holding events to celebrate the day. The Commission and Council of Europe support the European Day of Languages and you can find out about events taking place near you here: http://edl.ecml.at/ & http://bit.ly/18UBpxo.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "The European Day of Languages is the day when we celebrate Europe's linguistic diversity and the benefits of language learning. We stand for both because linguistic diversity is a fundamental part of our European cultural identity – and the ability to speak different languages is a passport to a world of opportunities. There are events taking place all over Europe, in classrooms, community centres, cultural institutes, restaurants and outdoors, so do see what's happening near you and join the celebration."

"The European Day of Languages is for everybody! More than ever language and communication represent central aspects of our society. Language learning offers a way of opening our minds to new perspectives and cultures," added Ólöf Ólafsdóttir, Director of Democratic Citizenship and Participation at the Council of Europe.

The Commission is co-organising two special conferences to mark the EDL: today, in Vilnius, 400 participants will take part in a debate on 'Unity in diversity – languages for mobility, jobs and active citizenship'. It will focus on the importance of languages for mobility and employment propspects, as well as the need more multilingual digital content and support for less taught or spoken languages. The event is organised with the Institute for the Lithuanian Language, the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language and Vilnius University. Tomorrow (27 September), the Commission will host a conference in Brussels entitled 'Translation and Mother-tongue' with special focus on Italian and Spanish.

Erasmus+, the EU's new education, training and youth programme for 2014-2020, will provide support for language learning across all of its main action lines. The new programme, envisaged to have a budget of nearly € 15 billion (+40% compared with existing EU mobility schemes), will provide grants for more than 4 million people to gain international experience and skills through study, training or volunteering opportunities abroad. On-line courses will be offered to students, apprentices and other beneficiaries wishing to strengthen their language skills prior to going abroad. Actions to boost cooperation for innovation and good practices, as well as support for policy reform, will also receive language funding.

National agencies responsible for running Erasmus+ in the Member States will be encouraged to award the European Language Label to innovative language projects.

Background

The European Day of Languages was first organised by the Council of Europe in 2001 as part of the European Year of Languages. The European Commission and the European Centre of Modern Languages take an active part in organising language-related events on and around the day.

The aim of the European Day of Languages is to raise awareness of the languages used in Europe, promote cultural and linguistic diversity and encourage life-long language learning. Earlier this year, the Council of Europe and the Commission signed a partnership agreement to strengthen cooperation in promoting ICT tools for language teaching and testing, and assessment of language competences.

In the European Union there are 24 official languages, about 60 regional and minority languages, and more than 175 migrant languages. There are between 6 000 and 7 000 languages in the world, of which most are spoken in Asia and Africa. At least half of the world’s population are bilingual or plurilingual, i.e. they speak or understand two or more languages.

How to say 'I like you' in 24 EU official languages

Bulgarian Харесвам те

Croatian – Sviđaš mi se

Czech – Líbíš se mi

Danish – Jeg kan godt lide dig

Dutch – Ik vind jou leuk

English – I like you

Estonian – Sa meeldid mulle

Finish – Tykkään sinusta

French – Tu me plais

German – Ich mag dich

Greek – Μου αρέσεις

Hungarian – Tetszel nekem

Irish – Is maith liom thú

Italian – Mi piaci

Latvian – Tu man patīc!

Lithuanian – Tu man patinki

Maltese – Togħġobni

Polish – Podobasz mi się

Portuguese – Gosto de ti

Romanian – Îmi placi

Slovak – Páčiš sa mi

Slovenian – Všeč si mi

Spanish – Me gustas

Swedish – Jag gillar dig

For more information

MEMO/13/825 Frequently asked questions on languages in Europe

http://ec.europa.eu/languages/european-language-label/index_en.htmLanguages for business and employability

Unity in Diversity Conference website

European Commission's language services: Interpretation and translation

Androulla Vassiliou's website

Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58); Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)


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