The “Day of the Languages” is a commemoration of the Spanish language, first implemented by the “Cervantes Institute” in order to celebrate the life of Miguel de Cervantes and his immense contribution to the Spanish language. The day of celebration is the 23rd of April, also the date of William Shakespeare’s death.
Cervantes was born in 1547 and through the course of his life he had a massive influence on both his native language and the genre of the novel. He influenced the Spanish language to such a degree that it is often referred to as “the language of Cervantes”. His most renowned work, “Don Quixote”, is widely considered to be the first modern European novel, and one of the best written in all time. “Don Quixote” influenced many writers of all languages, including Dickens, Dostoevsky and Shakespeare.
Shakespeare is also celebrated on this day. Cervantes influence on the Spanish language is mirrored by Shakespeare’s influence on the English language. Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright, and composed many of the most well known and renowned plays in the world, including “Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet” and “MacBeth”. His influence on the language was unprecedented both for its innovative use of language and his morally and structurally complex plots and characters. To this day Shakespeare plays are performed all over the world, and his language can still be heard in modern day English.
The “Day of the Languages” is important as we celebrate the skill of these two writers, and the huge influence they had upon their respective languages.
By Jack Avison