Today at YOKO it’s time for double celebration! Yes, that’s it, today we are celebrating both English Language Day and Spanish Language Day, observed together at the United Nations on April 23.
Why April 23?
For those wondering, yes, Spanish Language Day day was originally celebrated on October 12th, a national holiday in Spain known as “Dia de la Hispanidad”, while April 23 was originally dedicated to the English language, commemorating William Shakespeare's birthday.
However, Spanish Language Day was later moved to April 23 to mark the anniversary of the death of the death of Miguel de Cervantes (Abril 23rd 1616) poet and playwright, who contributed to the development of Spanish language with his masterpiece “El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha” (1605). Coincidentally, the date of his death coincides with that of the most prestigious English playwright, William Shakespeare. Hence, both languages share the day!
Spanish and English: Are they any similar?
To start with, both languages have huge numbers of native speakers, and they are both official languages of the United Nations and many other international organizations. But what else do they have in common? Let’s delve a little more into it!
Both the Spanish and English languages belong to the Indo-European family. That means that they share a relevant number of features.
While Spanish is a Romance language and English is Germanic, a portion of the English language was influenced by Romance sources and vice-versa.
They also share a few words rooted in the old Latin and Greek languages, which greatly simplifies the comprehension of many words from the other language. For example, the words photography and fotografía, or biology and biología.
Both languages use the Roman alphabet. That knowledge helps build a phonemic and phonological foundation.
Spanish and English have thousands of cognates (words that are spelled nearly the same in two different languages, and more often than not, they have nearly the same meaning). In fact, 30% to 40% of all words in English have a related word in Spanish, e.g., word endings that will almost always translate to the same word from Spanish to English, such as the Spanish ending -ción to the English -tion.
Being the purpose of the UN's language days to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization…
Happy English & Spanish Language Day from the YOKO team!
¡Feliz Día del Idioma Español desde YOKO!