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European Day of Languages 2018

Mother Tongues’ very first celebration of the European Day of Languages has been a fantastic multilingual marathon… or langua-thon, with 9 days of events which involved more than 500 people of all ages.

We started on Culture Night – 21st September – with a multilingual reading of The Hare and the Tortoise, one of the best known Aesop’s fables, at the Gutter Bookshop. We told the story in Swedish, German, Irish, Greek, Italian, French, Maltese and Russian. Children loved listening to the sounds of new languages and our storytellers had a great time!

On 22nd September two Native Scientist workshops took place in Trinity College Dublin. In these workshops, 5 Italian speaking scientists and 5 Spanish speaking scientists spoke to more than 50 children about their research and engaged them in fun experiments and games. Children learned about the brain, about cells and DNA, about the oldest rocks in the world, and much more, but more importantly, they learned about science through the medium of their mother tongue.

The highlight of the week was the European Language Label Awards! Language Explorers received the European Language Label from Minister Richard Bruton, and this recognition has given us great energy to start the programme in new schools from next week!

The LexIcon Library in Dun Laoghaire was the home of many of the activities that took place around the European Day of Languages. On Monday 24th September two classes visited the library for Language Explorers workshops. Children learned about Irish Sign Language, about the many languages spoken in Africa and they played games based on similarities between languages. On Tuesday 25th and Thursday 24th Claudia Kunkel ran two multilingual storytelling sessions in collaboration with Erika Piazzoli, Aga Pedrak and Juliette Saumande (pictured here). The library also hosted a talk on raising bilingual children, which was attended by mums, dads, and grandparents who shared a common goal: supporting their family’s multilingualism with a positive attitude and great determination!

Francesca also visited Clones Library for two Language Explorers school workshops, and she shared her knowledge of Irish Sign Language and Italian in exchange for some Gaelige and Lithuanian. Everyone had lovely stories to share, and we discovered that the Italian and the Irish words for LAMP are similar in Italian, Spanish, Russian and Irish!

The week ended with our bimonthly Language Adventures reading project, which saw Italian speaking families sharing stories and reading books in Italian at Dolphin’s Barn library in Dublin 8.

 

This week has given us great energy to continue with our activities and to keep spreading the message that multilingualism is a great asset for our society! We hope you enjoyed our events too, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

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