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Language of the Month/La Langue du mois

'The limits of my language mean the limits of my world' 'Die Grenzen meiner Sprache, bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt.' Ludwig Wittgenstein (1922) 

Did you know that there are over 7000 different languages spoken around the world? There are over 200 within Europe and at least 12 different indigenous languages still spoken in the UK alone!  

Schools are an amazing melting pot different cultures, with over 300 different languages spoken in UK schools.  At Bournes Green, we value and respect all those spoken within our own community.  We are lucky enough to have more than twenty different languages spoken by children in our school.  To celebrate this and deepen our children’s linguistical and cultural awareness, we are introducing ‘Language of the Month’, a celebration of the most spoken languages at our school.

Alongside our regular French lessons, each month our children will have the opportunity to learn words and phrases from other languages spoken within our community and the wider world, as well as develop an understanding of their culture. 

Below are some links and useful resources and websites which you may find useful! - watch your favourite cartoon or film in another language! 

British Council Schools Shop - Teaching Resources - TES 

French Day Ideas | Teaching Ideas 

Mondly Kids: Fun language learning for kids 

Duolingo - The world's best way to learn French 

If you speak any of the languages listed above, or, have experiences of living in a country that speaks one of these languages, we would love for you to come in and share this with us. Please contact Mrs Holland (MFL Lead) or Mr Denchfield if you would like to discuss this further.


September - European Languages  

September 26th is European Day of Languages which is held to celebrate the different languages spoken in Europe.  

Countries: 44 countries 

European Languages: More than 200 

EU languages: 24 designated languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish 

Useful Links 

First Words in European Language 


October - Turkish

Official language in: Turkey 

Co-language in: Cyprus, Northern Cyprus 

Minority language in: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece, Iraq, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Romania 

Spoken by: 75.7 million (native) 

Language family: Western Oghuz – Oghuz – Common Turkic – Turkic 

Writing system: Latin (Turkish alphabet) 

Fun Fact: Turkish completely changed its alphabet in 1928. They changed the entire alphabet from Arabic script to a westernized Latin alphabet. 

Discover more about the country of Turkey, also known officially as the Republic of Türkiye.  Click on the links below to find it’s location and more about this unique country that bridges both Asia and Europe. 

Location of Turkey - Google Earth 

Key National Events 

Republic Day in Turkey, or Cumhuriyet Bayramı as it’s known in Turkish, commemorates the offical start of a new Turkey. On this day in October 1923 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk officially proclaimed the establishment of the Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (Republic of Turkey). 

Republic Day lasts for 35 hours, beginning at 1pm on October 28, but the major ceremonies are held on the 29th October.  Republic Day is a national holiday, so all public institutions are closed on that day. It is also observed by Northern Cyprus. Decorations (e.g., streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally coloured red and white, the colours of the Turkish flag.  Parades are often held in the morning, while concerts, and fireworks displays occur in the evening after dark at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares. Republic Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs. 

Useful Language Learning Links


November - Czech

Official language in: Czech Republic 

Minority language in: Poland, Serbia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Austria. 

Spoken by: 10 million (native) 

Language family: Czech is a member of the West Slavic sub-branch of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. This branch includes Polish, Kashubian, Upper and Lower Sorbian and Slovak. Slovak is the most closely related language to Czech, followed by Polish and Silesian 

Writing system: Czech uses a modified Latin alphabet with a few diacriticals (accent marks): the háček (ˇ), čárka (´) and kroužek (°). 

Fun Fact: Some Czech words do not contain any vowels at all! 

Discover more about the land-locked country of the Czech Republic, also known as Czechia and historically as Bohemia.  Click on the links below to find it’s location and more about this unique country whose name itself comes from the Czech word  Čech. The name Čech comes from the Slavic tribe (Czech: Češi, Čechové) and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain located in the Czech Republic. 

Location of Czech Republic - Google Earth 

Key National Event - November 17th - Freedom and Democracy Day.

The full name of the event is Day of Freedom and Democracy and International Student Day, becomes it celebrates the efforts of students in their struggle for freedom throughout the history of what was once Czechoslovakia. 

The date of the commemoration comes from the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague after demonstrations against the occupation of Czechoslovakia. The Nazis executed nine students who were involved in the peaceful demonstration. Then in 1989 on the same date, another student demonstration took place to commemorate the lives of these students and the date of the student revolt. This was then suppressed by the police, but was seen as the spark for the Velvet Revolution, where more protests followed by more than just students. This then eventually led to the overthrow of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, leading to an independent Czechoslovak state once more. 

The day is usually celebrated through public rituals and ceremonies, and sometimes street festivals. The president may usually lay flowers at the commemorative plaque on National Avenue in Prague while delivering a speech. Some people may light candles and lay wreaths, too. 

Useful Language Learning Links


December - Polish 

Official language in: Poland 

Co-language in: N/A 

Minority language in: Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Brazil 

Spoken by: 40 million (native) 

Language family: Indo-European – Balto-Slavic – Slavic – West Slavic - Lechitic - Polish 

Writing system: Latin (Polish alphabet) 

Fun Fact: Until the 10th Century, Polish had only existed as a spoken language! 

Discover more about this vast Central European country.  Click on the links below to find it’s location and learn more. 

Location of Poland - Google Earth 

Key National Event - Christmas 

Like many Christian countries, Christmas is a major celebration.  Christmas in Poland is called "Boże Narodzenie", which translates to 'God's Birth'.  The Day of Saint Nicholas on 6th December marks the unofficial beginning of the festive season, however the highlight of the period is 24th December. Wigilia is the traditional Christmas Eve vigil supper in Poland, held on December 24. The term is often applied to the whole of Christmas Eve, extending further to Pasterkamidnight Mass, held in Roman Catholic churches all over Poland and in Polish communities worldwide at or before midnight.  

It is very much a day for family and whilst not an official holiday, most people return from work early to spend time with their families. Children usually decorate the Christmas tree and a family dinner is prepared.  Many wait until the first star to appear in the night sky before eating.  The dinner excludes meat, as abstinence is required, and should comprise twelve distinct dishes in memory of the twelve Apostles.   It is also tradition to make an extra place-setting for the "unexpected guest", to celebrate hospitality and sometimes a handful of hay is placed under the tablecloth of the dining table to symbolise Jesus's birth in a manger. 

Useful Language Learning Links


January - Chinese

Official language in: China, Taiwan, Singapore, 

Spoken by: 920 million (native) 

Language family: Sinitic – Sino-Tibetan 

Writing system: Chinese Characters (Simplified, Traditional) 

Fun Fact: When people talk about Chinese, they normally mean Mandarin, but, there are actually a number of different Chinese languages, so it is important to be specific. 

Discover more about The Peoples Republic of China, the worlds most populous country.  Its population exceeds 1.4 billion people Occupying nearly the entire East Asian landmass, it covers approximately one-fourteenth of the land area of Earth. Among the major countries of the world, China is surpassed in area by only Russia and Canada, and it is almost as large as the whole of Europe. 

Location of China - Google Earth 

Key National Event - Chinese New Year 


Useful Language Learning Links


February - Swahili

Official language in: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros Islands, Mayotte, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Bajuni Islands (part of Somalia), northern Mozambique (mostly Mwani), Zambia, Malawi, and Madagascar. 

Spoken by: 20 million (native) 

Language family: Niger-Congo - Atlantic-Congo - Benue-Congo - Bantoid - Southern Bantoid - Bantu - Northeast Bantu - Northeast Coast Bantu - Sabaki - Swahili 

Writing system:   Latin script (Roman Swahili alphabet), Arabic script (Arabic Swahili alphabet) Swahili Braille 

Fun Fact: There are also words of German, Portuguese, English, Hindi and French origin in Swahili due to contact with traders, slavers and colonial officials.  

Discover more about Swahili, where it is spoken and its orgins.  Click on the link below. 

BBC - Languages - Swahili - A Guide to Swahili - 10 facts about the Swahili language 

Useful Language Learning Links



March - Urdu

Official language in: India, Pakistan 

Minority language in: South Africa 

Spoken by: 70 million (native) 

Language family: Hindustani – Indo-Aryan – Indo-Iranian – Indo-European 

Writing system: Perso-Arabic (Urdu alphabet) 

Fun Fact: The first known book in Urdu is سب رس [Sabras], written in 1635-36 by Mullah Asadullah Wajhi. the book was handwritten. 

Discover more about Pakistan officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 243 million people, and has the world's second-largest Muslim population just behind Indonesia. 

Location of Pakistan - Google Earth 

Key National Event - Pakistan Republic Day 23 March 

Pakistan Day (Urdu: یومِ پاکستان, lit. Yaum-e-Pakistan) or Pakistan Resolution Day, also Republic Day, is a national holiday in Pakistan primarily commemorating the adoption of the first Constitution of Pakistan during the transition of the Dominion of Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 23 March 1956 making Pakistan the world's first Islamic republic.[1] The day also celebrates the adoption of the Lahore Resolution by the Muslim League at the Minar-e-Pakistan (lit. Pakistan Tower) which called for the creation of an independent sovereign state derived from the provinces with Muslim majorities located in the North-West and East of British India (excluding autonomous princely States) on 23 March 1940.  

The day is celebrated annually throughout the country as a public holiday. The Pakistan Armed Forces usually hold a military parade to celebrate both the passing of the Lahore Resolution and the Constitution of 1956.  

Useful Language Learning Links


April - Portuguese 

Official language in: Portuguese is the official language of nine States – Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste, and is also an official language of Macau Special Administrative Region of China. It is one of the official languages of the continental organizations African Union, Organization of American States, European Union and of multiple regional organizations, as well as official language of UNESCO General Conference.  

Minority language in: South Africa 

Spoken by: 250 million native speakers.  The Portuguese language is one of the most widely used languages of the Indo-European family, and one of the most widespread languages in the world, with more than 265 million speakers. It is the most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere. Its users are spread through all continents. 

Language family:  Indo-European -Italic - Latino Faliscan - Romance - Italo Western - Western Romance - Ibero Romance - West Iberian - Galician Portuguese - Portuguese 

Writing system: Latin (Portuguese alphabet) 

Fun Fact: Words originating from the Portuguese exploration and used nowadays in English include flamingo, cobra and piranha! 

Discover more about this southern European country by clicking on the links below.  Bordering Spain, its location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve's beaches are a major destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire. 

Location of Portugal - Google Earth 

Key National Event - Freedom Day April 25th Freedom Day on April 25th 

It celebrates the 1974 Revolution that ended the dictatorship and started a democracy. It also commemorates the first free elections that took place a year later on April 25th 1975. Known as the Carnation Revolution, this was a virtually bloodless, leftist, military-led coup.  It ended the rule of Marcello Caetano, who had assumed the country's leadership from dictator António Salazar five years earlier. 

The revolution began on April 25th 1974, in Lisbon and transformed the Portuguese regime from an authoritarian dictatorship to a democracy.It followed a long period of social change and power struggles between the left and right-wing political forces. Whilst the government forces killed four people before surrendering, the revolution was somewhat unusual in that the revolutionaries didn't resort to violence to achieve their goals. The population, holding red carnations, convinced the army not to resist and the soldiers swapped their bullets for flowers. 

The revolution marked the end of the longest authoritarian regime in Western Europe. 

Useful Language Learning Links


May - Farsi (Persian)

Official language in: Iran (Persian), Afghanistan (dari), Tajikistan (Tarik), Russia, Dagestan (Tat) 

Minority language in: UAE, Pakistan and Bahrain 

Spoken by: 81 millions native speakers, 130 million altogether 

Language family:  Indo-European -Indo Iranian - Iranian - Western Iranian - Southwestern Iranian - Persian 

Writing system: Persian alphabet (Iran and Afghanistan), Tajik alphabet (Tajikistan), Old Persian Cuneiform, Pahlavi scripts. 

Fun Fact: The term Persophone might also be used to refer to a speaker of Persian. 

The terms Farsi and Dari are sometimes used interchangeably, or the language is called Persian in the English language.  Farsi is  three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian (officially known as Persian), Dari Persian (officially known as Dari since 1964) and Tajiki Persian (officially known as Tajik since 1999) 

Discover more about Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran and also called Persia by clicking on the links below. Located in Western Asia, it is both the 17th largest country and also the 17th most populous country. 

Location of Iran - Google Earth 

Useful Language Learning Links


June - Swedish  

Official language in: Sweden, Finland and formerly Estonia 

Spoken by: 10 million (native) 

Language family: Indo-European - Germanic, North-Germanic - East-Scandinavian - Swedish 

Writing system: Latin (Swedish alaphabet) 

Fun Fact: The longest Swedish word contains 28 letters: realisationsvinstbeskattning. It stands for “capital gains tax”! 

Discover more about the country of Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden by clicking on the links below.  This beautiful Nordic country located on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe is a nation with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains. 

Location of Sweden - Google Earth 

Key National Event - The Swedish National Holiday

While almost every country has its own national holiday, the Swedes had to wait until 2005 to make it official. The 6/6 was already known as the day of the Swedish flag, but it was not a public holiday. The date is actually quite obvious: June 6th, 1523, Gustav Vasas was crowned king, which made Sweden independent from Denmark. And also, on June 6th — but in 1809 — the current constitution was adopted. 

A special feature of the Swedish calendar is the midsummer festival. The day of the summer solstice is the longest day of the year and in the northern regions, the sun actually shines 24 hours a day. This is celebrated with the Midsommarfest on the following Saturday. If the solstice falls on a Sunday, it is also celebrated then and the Saturday before it is also declared a holiday. 

Useful Language Learning Links



July - French

Official language in: 29 Countries… France, Benin, Burkina Fasa, Congo, DR Congo, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Senegal, Togo 

Co-language in: Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Central African Republic, Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland, Vanuatu 

Minority language in: Guernsey, Lebanon, Mauritius, Vatican 

Spoken by: 76.8 million worldwide 

Language family: Romance language – Indo-European language 

Writing system: Latin (French alphabet) 

Fun fact: French is the only language, with English, that is taught in every country of the world, with 100 million students and 2 million teachers – 20% of whom are outside of francophone* countries. 

(*Francophone = French speaking country) 

Discover more about the magnifique country of France by clicking on the links below!  A presidential Republic located  in Western Europe, it encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. Paris, its capital, is famed for its fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The country is also renowned for its wines and sophisticated cuisine. Lascaux’s ancient cave drawings, Lyon’s Roman theater and the vast Palace of Versailles attest to its rich history. 

Location of France - Google Earth 

Key National Event - 14th July - Bastille Day

Bastille Day Powerpoint 

Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the National Day of France, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In French, it is formally called ‘La Fête Nationale Française’ (French: "French National Celebration"); legally it is known as le 14 juillet ("the 14th of July"). 

The French National Day is the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a major event of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération that celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. One that has been reported as "the oldest and largest military parade in Europe" is held on 14 July on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests.  

Useful Language Learning Links