Wednesday, 7 October 2009

On English Language Day

The English Project - the Winchester-based group that is planning the first permanent English-language exhibition space, with a target opening in three or four years time - have come up with a lovely piece of PR: English Language Day. It's 13 October. They hope to make it an annual event.

They chose this date because it was on 13 October 1362 that the Chancellor of England for the first time opened Parliament with a speech in English. In that same Parliament, a Statute of Pleading was approved that permitted members in debate to use the English language. It had become again an official language of law and law-making.

Because of this connection with law-making, the theme this year is the language of law. The English Project’s contribution to the Day will be three events hosted by London law firm Taylor Wessing, for schools, for university law students, and for the public. They're also carrying out a survey of legal language. For more information, visit their website: English Project.

I think language days are important, as they keep the subject in front of people's minds. It's a pity that so few people are aware of the two we already have: 26 September, European Day of Languages, and 21 February, World Mother-Tongue Day. If I were in charge, I would give every language its special day. Maybe English Language Day will start a trend.

8 comments:

Annie said...

What a marvellous idea! I will tell my students about this tomorrow and encourage them to prepare a poster so more people at the university are aware of the event!
I wish this great idea of English Language Day will really catch on and become universally celebrated.

englishguideonline said...

Congratulation! Your attempt is so great that it may lead many to think about the greatness of their own languages. In some countries where multi languages are in use, language day festivals are arranged regionally in order to promote national languages. But in the case of English, which is a language accepted worldwide, such celebrations may help the people to know and learn more about English and make them proud that they know how to speak, write and understand English. Best wishes...

Matt Firth said...

It's a real shame that not more promotional work was done on this. I'm generally pretty good about keeping up with what's happening in the world of Legal English, and unfortunately only heard about the event on the day. I've run training sessions for 150+ teachers of Legal English over the past four months, these sessions would have been an excellent opportunity to get more people involved. Very much hoping that the next English Language Day is better promoted. Matt.

DC said...

If the idea appeals, I'm sure it will. You have to remember that this is a small group of people trying to get a big idea off the ground. Their resources are very limited at present. I have a feeling that an ELD will catch on, and we'll see more on it next year.

learn english online said...

This actually works. In some countries, they have this kind of tradition in schools. It is backed up by the department of education. They even dress up and have programs and presentations related to their language. Well maybe it should first start in USA before it can be universally celebrated.

Julius Beezer said...

The implication that the world's top 365 languages should each have their own annual day of celebration is quite fun.

Perhaps the 5,300 or so thus excluded could compete for the 29th Feb slot each leap year?

DC said...

I don't know where you get 365 from! There was no such implication. Nothing I said suggests a restriction to a single language a day.

valerie yule said...

International English Spelling Day is October 9, the same day that the Koreans celebrate their Spelling Day, Hangul Day.
http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/spday.htm

Hangul Day is celebrated with a ceremony in which distinguished guests and scholars commemorate the Hangul writing system and hold a conference on ways of keeping it as useful as possible. Essay writing competitions are also organised throughout Korea. At one stage there was a public holiday on the day.
How marvellous when the English writing system is also celebrated and made as useful as possible.

International English Spelling Day has been on the Internet since 1995.