• 20th February, 2013

International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day is held every year on 21st February.

Promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

First things first, why mother language and not father language?
According to experts, unborn babies begin to recognise the language that they are more closely exposed to. Guess which one that is!

Now back to the event itself…
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizaton (UNESCO to you and me) in November of 1999.

So, what exactly do we celebrate and why?
This day has been celebrated every year since 2000 “to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism”.
The idea behind this symbolic event is to change the way we think about our own language, to consider it part of our identity; something which must never be lost.

Did you know that there are over 6000 different languages in the world?
How many of those do you think will survive the next 100 years? Have a think and check your answer here.

What is so special about 21st February?
According to UNESCO, “the date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.”

Despite the tragic turn of events, linguistic recognition still wasn’t granted for another four years.

We have all heard the saying “knowledge is power” and I’m sure we all agree, yet the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ring true:

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Simply having a mother language is not enough to keep it alive; we must apply, we must do.

There is no other language more special than your own, cherish it!

Find out more about International Mother Language Day here and on Twitter using the hashtag #IMLD.

While you’re at it, you can join our cause by following us on Twitter, liking our page on Facebook and checking out the Lingualia web.

See you next week, linguali@s!

Posted in : Culture, Language Learning
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