Back

INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH DAY

Kseniia Fomina
May 22, 2024

Imagine a language spoken by more second-language learners than native speakers worldwide. A language where a new word finds its way into dictionaries every two hours. It's often called the language of the air, transcending borders and opening doors to endless opportunities. Have you guessed it yet? Indeed, we're talking about English – the language that defies boundaries🇬🇧💘

April 23rd may just seem like another day, but for English teachers, dictionary readers, Svitlo students, and language lovers around the world, it is an opportunity to stop, collaborate, and… uh… celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of the English language. Because it’s English Language Day!

But why this date? And what does it have to do with Shakespeare? 🤔

Join me as we unravel the significance of this day, explore why English holds such global prominence, and delve into its profound impact on our world. Let's discover something new about the language we all learn in Svitlo and celebrate the tongue that connects us all🫂

English Language Day at the UN is celebrated on April 23rd, the date traditionally observed as both the birthday and date of death of William Shakespeare. As well as being the most famous playwright, who wrote in English and the author of the infamous tragedy of “Romeo and Juliet“, Shakespeare also had a huge impact on modern-day English.

Shakespeare's influence on the English language and literature is profound and enduring. Before his time, English lacked standardization in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, but Shakespeare's works played a pivotal role in shaping these aspects of the language. He introduced approximately 1,700 new words into English, many of which are still in use today, including "lonely," "frugal," and "dwindle." Moreover, countless everyday phrases, such as "breaking the ice" and "heart of gold," originated in Shakespeare's plays and have since become integral parts of the English lexicon. Beyond linguistic contributions, Shakespeare's impact on poetry and literature is undeniable. He perfected blank verse, influencing generations of poets, novelists, and playwrights, from Alfred, and Lord Tennyson to Charles Dickens📚.

His legacy extends through centuries, inspiring writers to explore timeless themes and narratives rooted in the human experience. So, I guess it makes sense now why does this guy's supposed birthday is International English Day, right?

But how did English become the universal language you might ask? Well, it definitely didn’t happen overnight😉.

English, with its 1.5 billion speakers worldwide and a staggering 750,000 words, has a captivating history of evolution and expansion. Originating around 1,600 years ago in what is now England, the language began its journey by mingling with Anglo-Saxon tribes from Central Europe, laying the groundwork for Old English. The Viking invasions injected Old Norse into the mix, contributing over 2,000 new words to English, including "husband" and "knife". Then came the Norman invasion, introducing French as the language of nobility while Old English continued to thrive among the common folk, absorbing Latin and French influences and evolving into Middle English🔎.

The Renaissance period saw English reclaim its prominence, fueled by literary giants like William Shakespeare, who crafted over 1,700 new words and reshaped the language with his timeless works. Scientific advancements in the 17th and 18th centuries spurred the creation of new vocabulary, reflecting the rapid pace of innovation. With the rise of the British Empire, English spread globally, leading to the emergence of diverse dialects and enriching the language with borrowed words from regions across the world, from "barbeque" in the Caribbean to "zombie" in Africa ;)

 

Wondering how you can celebrate this cool day today? Start by watching a classic English movie with subtitles to immerse yourself in the language and culture🍿🎬. Challenge friends or family to a friendly game of word puzzles like crossword puzzles or word searches, perfect for expanding vocabulary in a fun way🧩. Take a stroll through an English-themed bookshop or library, browsing the shelves for new reads or classic favorites. For a hands-on experience, try cooking a traditional English recipe together, like fish and chips or scones, while practicing conversational English. Finally, end the day by listening to English-language music or podcasts, offering a relaxing way to soak up the language🎶

And, most important, don’t forget to join Svitlo lessons💡, where you can practice this wonderful language with natives and spend a great time in a friendly atmosphere💘 

Wishing you all a lovely day full of English and sincere smiles🇬🇧❣️