The European Day of Languages Marked with Motto “Let’s Talk About Languages”
The Office of the Language Commissioner of Kosovo, in cooperation with Alliance Française and the French Embassy in Prishtina, organized a debate titled “Let’s Talk About Languages” to celebrate the European Day of Languages.
In addition to the Language Commissioner Slavisa Mladenovic, other panel speakers included Albba Morina, a journalist and television producer, and Cécile Fisteberg, Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action at the French Embassy in Kosovo.
“Knowledge of official languages is very important both for Albanians and for Serbs, as not knowing the language of one another makes integration more difficult and slower. This applies to the Serb community living in Kosovo, but also to the Albanian community due to regional circumstances,” said Commissioner Mladenovic.
During the debate with students and other institutional officials and various civil society representatives, Mladenovic shared his personal experience as well. He talked about how he had learnt Albanian and that knowing the language enabled his employment as a commissioner, as well as helped him overcome many barriers both in his professional and personal life.
Albba Morina, journalist and television producer, said that she had learnt Serbian through YouTube and Google translate. She further said that knowledge of the Serbian language has been a great advantage because of the nature of her work.
“I started by listening to songs that were similar to ours, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian music, and at one point I decided to learn the Serbian language through Google translate. I listened to the songs I liked and translated their lyrics. I also talked in Serbian to my parents who speak the language. They corrected me all the time, which helped me to learn the language. It took me one year and a half to learn Serbian to the level I could fully understand it.”
Cécile Fisteberg, Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action at the French Embassy in Kosovo, talked about the importance of learning foreign languages.
“Starting this year, five European countries, i.e., France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Luxembourg, have established the EUNIC group in Pristina, which this year is headed by the French Embassy. The group aims to promote multilingualism and multiculturalism, as well as to coordinate and expand cultural activities in Kosovo,” she said. “Learn as many foreign languages as possible,” was the message of Ms. Fisteberg, among others.
A documentary titled “Multilingualism: A value and/or an obligation” was screened after the debate.
Office of the Language Commissioner was established in April 2012 under auspices of the Office of the Prime Minister, pursuant to Regulation br.07/2012. The Office is mandated to oversee the implementation of the law on languages, works with institutions to improve the implementation of the law and promote and protect the right on the use of the language of all communities in Kosovo.