European Day of Languages - publication of English whitepaper on language technology


Today, the Council of Europe celebrates the European Day of Languages, encouraging people across all 47 member states to celebrate their linguistic diversity. NaCTeM at the University of Manchester, as part of the META-NET initiative, is marking the occasion by highlighting the publication of a set of whitepapers looking at the social, economic and technological status of 30 European languages, including English, in modern Europe.

Through the European Day of Languages the Council of Europe is not only highlighting the importance of languages in our increasingly multilingual society but also the economic value that comes with multilingualism through, for example, increased worker mobility. The META-NET Language Whitepapers show how in modern Europe technology plays an integral role in supporting and developing multilingualism both in everyday usage and in facilitating language learning.

The Whitepaper on English highlights the strong role that the language plays in Europe. In education, over 90% of all European pupils learn English at some stage of their eduction, and over half the citizens of the EU consider themselves able to speak it, either as a mother tongue or foreign language. In terms of language technology, therefore, it is little surprise that English is the language for which the greatest number of resources is available. A strong and thriving language technology community in the UK is complemented by many other research groups and companies in other English speaking countries worldwide, which has resulted in the production of a wide range of high quality resources. Despite this, however, the whitepaper reveals that even for such a well studied language as English, there are still many challenges and issues that must be faced in order for language technology to reach its full potential to facilitate support for a truly multilingual knowledge society.

NaCTeM (the National Centre for Text Mining) is the first publicly-funded text mining centre in the world, providing text mining services in response to the requirements of the UK academic community. As a member of META-NET, NaCTeM is one of the UK nodes in a pan European Network of Excellence dedicated to fostering the foundations of a multilingual European information society.

The META-NET Language Whitepaper series is published online at

For more information contact Prof. Sophia Ananiadou (sophia.ananiadou AT or see

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