English Language Day 2009 — First English Language Day

The English Project launches world’s first ever English Language Day on October 13th, a landmark day to celebrate and explore the changing shape of the world’s 7,000 spoken “Englishes”.

Below you will find our press release for the very first English Language Day in 2009:

The English Project launches world’s first ever English Language Day on October 13th

Landmark day to celebrate and explore the changing shape of the world’s 7,000 spoken “Englishes”.

Phillip Pullman, Susie Dent and host of other celebrities support the Day.

Charitable body, The English Project, will launch the world’s first ever English Language Day on October 13th, to mark the first occasion on which English was used in Parliament and to raise awareness of the estimated 7,000 varieties of English spoken in 100 countries worldwide.

English Language Day is being held to mark 13th October 1362, when Parliament was opened for the first time by a speech in English, rather than in French. In the same Parliament, a Statute of Pleading was approved that permitted members in debate to use the English language, making it an official language of law and law-making. The English Project, which recently created the best-selling book Kitchen Table Lingo, has chosen “The Language of Law” as the theme of this year’s inaugural event.

Award-winning author Phillip Pullman and Countdown’s lexicographer Susie Dent are patrons of English Language Day, which will henceforth be celebrated annually through a number of national events, publications and collaborations in conjunction with leading public figures, academics and institutions.

Commenting on the launch of the Day, Bill Lucas, English Project Trustee and Professor at the University of Winchester, says:

"Amazingly, although English is spoken by more than 2 billion people on the planet – roughly one third of the world’s population – there has never been a day when we can celebrate its full glory. We hope that October 13th will become a major event in the annual calendar."

Patron Philip Pullman comments:

"Every speaker of English has the right to bring new words or expressions into being, or give new meanings to old ones. I hope The English Project will help many people to realise what a treasure we have in our language."

Susie Dent adds:

“Our language has never been richer, stronger, or more diverse. There can be no better time to celebrate its vitality; the English Project is giving us the chance to do just that."

The English Project will be hosting three inaugural events to mark English Language Day 2009 at leading law firm Taylor Wessing in partnership with The City University London and The University of Winchester:

  • An evening debate on whether the language of English Law is in need of fundamental reform, led by celebrities, judges and QCs, including Judge Stephen Gerlis, Richard Gordon QC, Anne Atkins and Shaun Ley
  • A conference for sixth form students from London and Hampshire schools, where science journalist and renowned science writer Rita Carter will explore "legalese and the brain”
  • An event for university law students and practitioners on the origins and use of legal language, led by top lawyers and academics from The University of Winchester and The City Law School, City University London