How is English Language Day celebrated at the United Nations?
By: MD Ismail
English is a universal language. No matter which part of the world you travel to, you can find English speakers everywhere. All the international meetings and trade are done in this language. In most developing countries, the school syllabus is taught in English.
History of English Language
The history of the English language dated back to the fifth century. It was an era when Germanic tribes conquered Celtic-speaking Britain and brought the rich culture of languages with them. After that, Scandinavian Vikings also conquered the area and brought their rich language too. When William I became the king of modern France in 1066 the French language became the official language of courts. Initially, people are unable to understand each other because only the lower class spoke English whereas the high class can speak French. With time, the French language starts impacting the English language. You will be amazed to know that 45% of English words are derived from the French language. The English language started developing itself during the period of Shakespeare. At that time, modern English was developed, people started focusing on correct spelling and vocabulary and printing was also innovative.
What is English Language Day
There are six official languages of the United Nations. They celebrate language day each to commemorate their history, culture, and literary achievements. Just like Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, and Spanish language day, English language day was first celebrated in 2010.
Why English Language Day is Celebrated on 23rd April?
The English language day is celebrated on the 23rd of April because it is the birthday and death anniversary of one of the renowned poets of the English language, Shakespeare. He is one of the classic playwrights and his writing has a great impact on modern English. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the English language was going through great evolution, and Shakespeare's creativity ended up with the addition of many new words and phrases that are still used in modern English. For instance, the words lonely, fashionable, and gossip are the words that were used for the first time by Shakespeare. It also includes some important phrases like all our yesterdays, love is blind.
The Spread of the English Language
Although the spread of English in the world is not so systematic, it has a very rich and dynamic culture at present. At the time of European colonialism, many European countries, including England, decided to expand their territories. Therefore, they stole labor, land, and resources from countries like Asia, Africa, America, and Oceania. When the British colonies started getting independence in the mid-20 century, then English was given great importance in their institution. Many people and writers from diverse places like Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa started narrating their stories regarding cruelty in the English language. Moreover, they are also putting their views on paper regarding freedom, equality, and justice. The different dialects of English that came to existence due to migration and colonization are given the name of world Englishes.
Do you know that 1.75 billion people around the world speak the English language? This shows that from every 4 persons, one person can speak this language. English is being used more and more between the two speakers with the first different language to communicate with each other as a Lingua Franca. Many people give importance to communication rather than sound that resembles a native speaker. Because of this reason, the use of language started to change. For example, people communicating in English can use a or the with the nouns. Moreover, they can use uncountable noun plurals such as co-operations, furniture, and information. Do you think that these variations are mistakes, or it is part of the evolution of the English language? International language is a language that is developed by everyone in the world, and it does not resonate with native speakers.
How English Language Day is Celebrated
360 million people are native to the English language throughout the world. It is the official language of 67 sovereign states, in addition to 27 non-sovereign entities. You will be surprised to know that English does not hold official status in the United States. It is considered the language of business in the entire world. Therefore, many people are learning this as a second language.
English language day is celebrated to commemorate the history, culture, and rich literature associated with it. On this day, different book reading events are organized with quizzes. Moreover, poetry and literature exchanges are done to promote this lingua franca. Just like other language days, English language day holds global importance, but there is no public holiday given on that date.
The English language is one of the dominant languages of the world and a powerful tool of communication throughout the world. Over time, more and more people are learning English. Thus, it is very important to celebrate the English language day to understand the history and significance of this amazing language.