European Day of Languages

Tuesday 26 September will be European Day of Languages, a time to celebrate the linguistic diversity of our continent and advance our own language learning. The European Commission Representation in the UK is organising two public events to mark the day.

On Saturday 23 September: a day of activities at and around the European Bookshop in London. Includes the Wordkeys translation treasure hunt by Rosalind Harvey and a talk on improving your language-learning skills by polyglot and author Olly Richards.

On Tuesday 26 September: an evening talk at Europe House by author and polyglot Daniel Tammet, on the Mysteries and Meanings of Language.

 All events are free of charge and open to everyone, but registration is required for certain parts of the programme. Further details are below.

Saturday 23 September:

A day-long public event to celebrate and promote languages.

European Bookshop, 123 Gloucester Road, South Kensington, London SW7 4TE

From 10am to 6pm: the European Commission will have a stand outside the bookshop with goodies, information and languages games and quizzes, helped by an interactive touch-screen display that can give you a first lesson in over 130 languages. Members of Cambridge University’s Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages will also be on hand to answer questions about studying languages. No booking necessary, just turn up! The shop has a wealth of further material for those inspired to start a new language or resume learning old ones. The area is also home to several national cultural institutes offering language tuition and libraries, including the Institut français and the Goethe-Institut. There are plenty of eating and drinking options and many other attractions in South Kensington – include a visit to us as part of a wider day out.

At 12 noon and again at 3pm: two runnings of the legendary Wordkeys language treasure hunt, devised and led by literary translator Rosalind Harvey. No language knowledge required. Free and open to all, but numbers are limited and registration is essential. Meet outside South Kensington underground station. More details and registration here.

From 7pm to 8pm: in the European Bookshop: a talk by Olly Richards entitled Becoming Multilingual: The Secrets To Learning New Languages As An Adult. Olly is a polyglot, author and language consultant who has taught himself more than eight languages. In this talk you’ll discover how he has learnt his languages, the methods he has used, and how you can use his experience to get a head start in your own language learning. Includes drinks and nibbles. Free and open to all, but numbers are limited and registration essential. Register here. 

Tuesday 26 September:

An evening talk by polyglot and author Daniel Tammet on The Mysteries and Meanings of Language.

Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU, 6:30pm

Daniel Tammet is an essayist, novelist and translator. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller Born On A Blue Day, and of the international bestsellers Embracing the Wide Sky and Thinking in Numbers. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2012 and lives in Paris. His latest book, Every Word is A Bird We Teach to Sing, is a collection of essays about language. Tammet’s first encounters with language included noting the shapes and textures created by Finnish words through the neurological phenomenon of synaesthesia; this summer a meeting at a book festival led to his first conversation in Esperanto, a language he learned in adolescence. 

Tammet comes to Europe House to tell us of his life in languages. The talk will be followed by an audience Q&A and book signing. There will also be a drinks reception with light food. The event is free of charge and open to all, but registration is essential. Register here. 

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