Happy French Language Day! French Language Day was established in 2010 by the United Nation’s Department of Public Information to honor multilingualism, cultural diversity, and the equal usage of its six official languages. There are also special days for the other official languages–English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian. But, due to the fact that my oldest daughter has been studying French for six years (and my husband also studied the language for a while), I thought it was fitting to set aside time today to consider how families could celebrate French Language Day.
Some reports about the French language indicate it is one of the most studied languages, as well as one of the most natively spoken languages in the world. So, for those who enjoy traveling, having at least some oral-, listening- or reading proficiency can be beneficial. This would be especially helpful if you and your family have a desire to visit France, several countries in Africa, some provinces in Canada, and many other countries. And, as I learned during high school orientation night for my oldest daughter years ago, French is also one of the most popular languages (after English and Mandarin) for those who want to go into business. So, it makes sense that it is such a popular language all around the world.
If you’re not a native French speaker, but want to help your family develop an appreciation for the language, today is a great day to begin doing that! Take a look at the below list to see a few fun ways your family could do that:
- Download an app onto your phone that you can use to learn French words.
- Borrow copies of French translations of popular fairy tales or children’s books from your local library and try to read them with your children.
- Go out to dinner at a French restaurant. If the menu is in English, ask your server what various dishes are called in French.
- Buy books that will teach you and/or your children how to speak French.
While you probably won’t find special days like language days on the average calendar, I’m glad they exist. Hopefully, they will inspire parents and children alike to developed an enhanced appreciation for learning a language other than their native one. Having that proficiency, regardless of the level, can make traveling to new places more comfortable, broaden one’s career options, as well as make it possible for people to be of service to–or even become friends with–people in cultures different from their own. Now that’s something to celebrate!
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