The English Project, a charity aiming to promote awareness and understanding of the unfolding global story of the English language, has announced the world’s first ever English Language Day on 13 October 2010, to celebrate the vibrancy of our language and to raise awareness of the estimated 7,000 varieties of English spoken in 100 countries across the globe. English Language Day is being held to mark the occasion on 13 October 1362 when the English Parliament was opened for the first time by a speech in English, rather than in French. In the same Parliament, a Statute of Pleading was approved that permitted members in debate to use the English language, making it an official language of law and law-making. Consequently, “The Language of Law” has been chosen as the theme of the inaugural event.
Commenting on the launch, Bill Lucas, English Project Trustee and Professor at the University of Winchester, says: ”Amazingly, although English is spoken by more than 2 billion people on the planet – roughly one third of the world’s population – there has never been a day when we can celebrate its full glory. We hope that October 13th will become a major event in the annual calendar.” Expanding on the philosophy behind the event, patron Philip Pullman comments: ”Every speaker of English has the right to bring new words or expressions into being, or give new meanings to old ones. I hope The English Project will help many people to realise what a treasure we have in our language.” Susie Dent adds: “Our language has never been richer, stronger, or more diverse. There can be no better time to celebrate its vitality; the English Project is giving us the chance to do just that.”
This sounds like an interesting innovation and we will keep our readers informed as more events get added to the schedule.