English Language Day

English Language Day

English Language Day

Professor Chris Awonuga

Since 2010, the United Nation (UN) has recognised and celebrated every April 23 as the English Language Day. According to the world body, English, along with French, is one of the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat, and one of the Organization's six official and working languages.

The day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Public Information, establishing language days for each of the Organization's six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).

The purpose of the UN's language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity, as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.

Another reason for Language Days celebration at the UN is aimed at entertaining as well as informing, with the goal of increasing awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six working languages among the UN community.

According to the Organization, because it is so widely spoken, English is often referred to as a "world language", or the lingua franca of the modern era.

Professor Christopher Awonuga, a professor of Stylistics at the Department of Languages, Covenant University, agrees with the world body.

He noted that though the use of English may differ generally in all countries, there is hardly a country where people don’t speak the language.

“The English Language as you know is about the fastest growing language in the world today. There is hardly a country where you don’t find people speaking English. And the number keeps rising.

“In fact, it has got to a point now that people have said that the English people have no right to say the Language is their own any more because it has grown. And because of the growth, it begins to assume new dimensions. In Nigeria for instance, the way we use English is no longer exactly the way they use it in England, the same thing in other countries like Ghana, South Africa and Australia etc. As the Language expands, it also brings in the culture of the people”, he explained.