by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK
The European Day of Languages (EDL is a Council of Europe Initiative since 2001 on 26 September) is a chance for us in TAKK to review, where and how are the languages among us? Let’s take a look at the situation in 2017.
TAKK is a diverse community as such, since we have hundreds of multicultural and integration students every day, but also since we are a workplace trainer of the big scale in Tampere region. These two facts play the biggest role in the language field. However, our integration training is conducted solely in Finnish and majority of the courses offering for all students is also in Finnish, so we cannot really brag at all. Of course it also is a strategy to integrate our students with the one common language. Tampere’s second spoken language is Russian, and it shows among the students. In a year, even up to 100 different language speakers are found in our TAKK classes! The case is clear: our lessions are Finnish, yes, BUT our breaks are totally polyglot.
Here we come to a term to explain. Polyglotism (monikielisyys) refers to the ability to master multiple languages. Few of us are hyperpolyglots (R. Hudson 2008), mastering a dozen of languages, but actually many are triple (3), quadruple (4), pentadruple (5).
How many languages do you master?
The EDL gives us a chance to remember the languages among us. Language is such a powerful tool for all of us. Mother tongue is the language of deep emotions, that’s a fact. English The language to communicate with in just about everywhere, due to the historical facts. Swedish, second official language of Finland, tool for many official posts. French, German, Spanish – many speak these – fewer nowadays, which is a pity. My advice is, keep on learning the languages and encourage that also on your children. You never know when you need the skill. But the most important for us all: every individual language skill in worklife is a potential working environment and partnership – in worklife, language skills are great opportunities.