International Mother Language Day: celebrating linguistic diversity in Europe 


The UN's International Mother Language Day is marked every 21 February to promote linguistic and cultural diversity around the world. Diversity is the bedrock of Europe's cultural heritage, so the EU is keen to also protect linguistic diversity. The EU boast 24 official languages, but how many of them can you recognise? Try our quiz to find out.

The EU's most widely spoken mother tongues are: German (16%), Italian and English (13% each), French (12%), Spanish and Polish (8% each). More than 60 regional and minority languages are spoken in the EU. The EP called for the protection of endangered languages and linguistic diversity in a resolution adopted in September 2013

Linguistic diversity in the EP

MEPs have the right to use any of the official languages when speaking in the EP, while all parliamentary documents such as reports and legislation, are published in all official languages of the EU. In addition anyone living in the EU can contact all EU institutions in any of the EU's official languages and receive a reply in the same language.

The Parliament's website is also available in all 24 official languages and it also offers Twitter accounts in all of them. 

Try our quiz and see in how many  EU languages you recognise the word “tongue”.