For a multilingual Europe: learning new languages

illustration showing a girl and boy reading a green book.

Films showing how people across Europe are teaching and learning languages

Aisha Villegas (opens in new window) (EUscreen)

Learning a language, as challenging as it may be, helps people to connect with others, deepen connections to other cultures or perhaps, helps to advance a professional career.

In Europe, where different traditions and cultures co-exist next to each other, linguistic diversity is essential and so is the importance of learning new languages. For instance, though there are 24 official languages in the European Union, more than 200 languages are spoken across the continent. 

This blog presents the multicultural and multilingual European landscape, with videos showing different learning and teaching techniques of languages captured in the archival footage from EUscreen.

Dutch lessons for foreign workers

The free movement of workers means that nationals of any member state of the European Union can take up employment in another member state on the same conditions as the nationals of that particular member state.

This video shows how foreign workers residing in Rotterdam received Dutch lessons from volunteers in the 1970s. 

Catalan classes for Erasmus students

What better way to learn a new language than to immerse yourself in the local culture? 

This video from 2011 shows Erasmus exchange students learning Catalan with a different approach: with cooking lessons!

Adults learning Irish

While Irish is the national language in the Republic of Ireland, many Irish people don't speak it or only use it as their second language. This video shows why adults in Dublin, in 1976, are eager to learn the Irish language. 

Young people learning Polish

Over the past twenty years, Ireland has grown to become a cultural and ethnically diverse country. With this in mind, in 2010, a school in Ireland decided to introduce Polish courses, after realising that a large portion of children in their local population come from a Polish background, but don’t know the language well.

Enjoy this story? Then sign up for our monthly newsletter (opens in new window)

This blog post is a part of the Europeana Media project, increasing the appeal, visibility, reuse, research and interaction with Europe’s audio-visual heritage.