Record ‘Reading Aloud in Multiple Languages’ set in Schaarbeek

Children and adults from local schools set a new record for reading aloud in the highest number of languages at the Bib Sophia Library in Schaarbeek (Brussels) last Sunday.  Excerpts of Leo Timmers’s ‘Magical Life of Mr Renny ‘were read out in 65 different languages.

The feat sets a new Guinness World Record for Reading aloud in multiple languages .  The jury present verified readings in 65 different languages, though organisers speak of readings in 75 different languages.

Sunday’s readings in Schaarbeek snatch the record from the Museum of Islamic Culture in Qatar that held it until now.

The world record attempt was an initiative of the local library and schools as well as the Foyer charity that works with newcomers.  Only ten seconds is permitted in between each reading in a different language.  An expert jury involving lecturers from the universities of Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels and Louvain-la-neuve as well as professional EU translators verified correct language was used.

Veronika Horvath read a sentence in Hungarian: “I’m Hungarian, but I’ve been living in Brussels for 12 years now.  At the weekend I already read to children at the library.  So I definitely wanted to take part”.

Bib Sophia is thrilled it now holds the record but aims to go further: “Our library likes to promote reading.  Reading starts with reading aloud” says Bib Sopha’s Sofie Van den Bergh. “We promote reading aloud by doing it in the library every week as well as in play streets, day-care centres and local parks”.

Adelheid Byttebier, Schaarbeek alderman for Dutch-language culture: “This is the cherry on the cake, but even without a record it would have been a great success.  Above all we wanted to highlight the richness of languages spoken in our municipality.  Children should be proud of the language spoken in their home”.

Sven Gatz, Brussels minister for multilingualism, is enthusiastic too: “This initiative shows how multilingualism is really alive in our society”.

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