Who has organised the International Day of Multilingualism?
Arising from an ongoing discussion on Twitter and in real life about the benefits of multilingualism and challenges of changing attitudes towards learning multiple languages, especially in countries like the UK where English is a dominant language and foreign-language learning is in steep decline, the International Day of Multilingualism aims to celebrate linguistic diversity and the multi-layered, multi-lingual way that humans actually use languages in our everyday lives.
Everyone is a linguist. People talk. It’s just what humans do. As a species we have evolved over thousands of years and adapted to speaking more than one language very easily.
But somehow the dialogue has changed over the last couple of centuries and speaking more than one language is commonly perceived as irregular, or special, when in fact more than two thirds of the world’s population speak two or more languages in their daily life. We’re not talking about the incredible polyglots who speak ten or more languages. Just the day-to-day use of language that is as much as part of our normal day as, say, enjoying a cup of coffee.
The date 27th March was suggested by Thomas Bak, Reader in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh (find out more about him on the Healthy Linguistic Diet website), and readily taken up by Ute Limacher, owner of Ute’s International Lounge and Dr. Philology, and Cate Hamilton, languages education entrepreneur, co-founder of Babel Babies, and our team graphic designer.
We hope that, like languages themselves, the seed of the International Day of Multilingualism will flourish and grow in diverse ways as it is taken up by different communities and supporters on 27th March.
There is no *right* way to do languages. There is only your way. And that’s what matters.
Multilingual is normal. Let’s celebrate multilingualism, whatever that looks like!
Want to get involved? Click here to take part.