• 26th September, 2012

The Rise of the Polyglots

The 26th September marks this year’s European Day of Languages (EDL). Organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union, millions of people across the 47 participating countries will come together to celebrate linguistic diversity throughout Europe and promote multiple language learning.

So, are you a polyglot? Don’t panic, that’s not an insult, it’s quite the opposite. Nowadays, contrary to public belief, there are more plurilingual people a.k.a. polyglots than ever before. In fact, if you only speak one language you are soon to be, if you aren’t already, in the minority. According to the people behind the EDL, between a half and two-thirds of the world’s population is bilingual to some degree, and a significant number are plurilingual.

Take Switzerland for example; a child’s home language could be French, Swiss-German, Italian or Romansh, or even a combination of these depending on the parents and the language spoken at school. Add to this compulsory English classes in secondary school and you have yourself one of the most important polyglot-producing countries in Europe!

This social phenomenon is clearly driven by globalisation and is spreading rapidly throughout the world thanks to the ease of access to resources. Up until very recently, native English speakers were sitting behind their desks with what we have come to recognise as a false sense of job security. Research shows 28% of employers are ready to pay more than the market rate, in addition to other incentives, in order to get a competent multilingual person for their organisation. A multilingual employee ultimately saves the company translation and interpretation fees, while multilingual job seekers are not hindered by a country with astronomical unemployment rates, but have the freedom of choice as to where to work.

To celebrate the European Day of Languages, why not take a stab at language you have been meaning to study for all this time? No more missed opportunities! Let’s not wait until it is too late to understand the true value of foreign language-learning.

Click here for more information about the European Day of Languages, take the Lingualia level test and don’t forget to check out Twitter and the hashtags #EuropeanDayofLanguages #Book as we will be marking the day with some recommendations for the best linguistic books on the market!

Image courtesy of Council of Europe.

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