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April 23 Is English Language Day


Teachers in training at the National University of East Timor practice an interactive learning English game. (Adam Brock/VOA)

Teachers in training at the National University of East Timor practice an interactive learning English game. (Adam Brock/VOA)

Happy English Language Day! English Language Day is celebrated each year on April 23 – the date when tradition says William Shakespeare was born. Shakespeare has been called the greatest writer in the English language. His plays continue to be published, performed in theaters and seen in films almost 400 years after his death.

Many people consider English as the unofficial “world language” because it is so widely used. English is the main language of business and aviation. It is the most widely used language on the Internet and social media.

The first English Language Day was the result of work by the United Nations. A few years ago, the U.N.’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization created Language Days for each of the U.N.’s six official languages. The aim was to celebrate multilingualism – the use of different languages around the world – and different cultures. Another goal was to campaign for equal use of all six official languages throughout the United Nations. The other five languages are Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

The United Nations celebrated its first English Language Day on April 23, 2010. That day, a number of events were held at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York City. This year, the TOEFL program has announced plans for a ‘live’ question and answer chat on the social media website Facebook. TOEFL is also known as the Test of English as a Foreign Language. The group says the program is for students interested in learning more about its test and the English language.

To improve your understanding of American English, you have come to the right place: learningenglish.voanews.com. Everyday, you will find news and information in easy to understand English. Our stories and audio podcasts are based on a 1,500-word vocabulary, listed in our Learning English Word Book.

You can find classic “American Stories” on the website every Friday, Universal Time. On Saturdays, you can find “Everyday Grammar,” our newest series. It answers common questions about the language.

For English learners who want to learn through videos, we offer “Learning English TV,” “News Words” and “English in a Minute.” In addition, you are invited to take part in “Talk2US,” our Skype interactive program for English learners. This show is normally produced four days a week. A list of production times and the subjects can be found on our website.

I’m Jim Tedder.

George Grow wrote this article for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in this Story

language n. words and their use; what people speak in a country, nation or group

traditionn. a ceremony, activity or belief that has existed for a long time

officialadj. of or about an office; approved by the government or someone in power

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