In 2010, the United Nations introduced an initiative dedicating one day to each of its six official languages: French (3/20), Chinese (4/20), Spanish and English (4/23), Russian (6/6), and Arabic (12/18). The language days recognize the importance of global communication through multilingualism and cultural diversity. The UN first celebrated English Language Day on April 23, 2010.
English, one of the two working languages of the UN Secretariat, is often referred to as a “world language”, or the lingua franca of the modern era because it is so widely spoken. The U.N. also celebrates International Mother Language Day on February 21 and International Translation Day on September 30.
English Language Day aims to entertain and inform people about the history, culture, and achievements associated with the language. The U.N. selected April 23 for English Language Day to commemorate the celebrated playwright and poet, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), whose (speculated) birthdate and death are recorded on the same date. The day often features book-reading events, English quizzes, poetry and literature exchanges, and other activities that promote the English language.
If you’re looking for some activities to celebrate English Day, the British Council offers an English Day lesson plan for teenagers and adults for online or in-classroom lessons.
The British Council will also be holding a special live stream for teachers on Facebook Live on 4/23.
To learn more about the United Nations’ English Day commemoration and language courses, click here!
Best of luck in your classes and Happy English Language Day!
Kinney Brothers Publishing