English Language Day


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English Language Day

On April 23, English Language Day explores the development, history, and culture of the English tongue.

A Germanic language that began to develop during the 5th and 6th centuries when Anglo-Saxons settled in Britain, English is also influenced by French, Latin, and many other languages. While English is the most spoken language in the world, it is the native tongue for only one-quarter of those who speak it (Source: Statista 2017). Or more impressively, for three-quarters of those who speak English, it is at least their second language if not a third or fourth.

Did You Know?

  1. What is the shortest English language sentence you can come up with?
  2. What English words rhyme with orange, purple, silver, or month?
  3. What is the dot over the letter “i”?
  4. How many English words can you come up with that end in “dous”?
  5. What English word, spelled all in capitals, looks the same upside down?
  6. What is the present tense word for the past tense word “durst”?
  7. Approximately how many English words are in the Oxford Dictionary?
  8. What’s so special about this sentence? “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.”

(The answers to these questions are at the end of the page.)

Can you name only the consonants in the English alphabet the first time through?

Our language is funny – a ‘fat chance’ and a ‘slim chance’ mean the same thing. But, in a rut and in a groove mean the opposite.


In 2010, the United Nations named six language days in recognition of the six official languages of the U.N. and to bring attention to the history, culture, and achievements of each of the languages. The U.N. selected April 23 for English Language Day commemorating the celebrated English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, whose death is recorded on the same date in 1616.

The six days recognized include French Language Day on March 20, Chinese Language Day on April 20, English Language Day on April 23, Spanish Language Day on April 23 Russian Language Day on June 6, and Arabic Language Day on December 18. The U.N. also celebrates International Mother Language Day on February 21 and International Translation Day on September 30.

English Language Day

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