International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day

On February 21, International Mother Language Day is celebrated to preserve and protect all languages spoken worldwide.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Using Technology for Multilingual Learning: Challenges and Opportunities,” The role of technology in multilingual education will be discussed, promoting quality learning for all people.

Since when is Mother Language Day celebrated?

Officially, since its proclamation by the General Assembly of the United Nations, in 2007. However, since 2000, it was celebrated unofficially because the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, supported the celebration in his speech. The UNESCO General Conference had already proclaimed this celebration in November 1999.

Mother language is called the first language that a person acquires when is born and will use throughout their life as an instrument of communication.

Later, if the person learns another language, it will be considered their “second language.”

What is the reason for the celebration of International Mother Language Day?

The origin of the commemoration dates to 1952 when a group of students from the then Republic of Pakistan demonstrated to demand the recognition and conservation of their mother language, called “Bangla.” It was then that the police in the city of Dhaka, the capital of present-day Bangladesh, fired on the demonstrators, killing three of them.

Currently, mother languages are considered universal rights since they represent a large part of the identity and history of people. However, many of them are disappearing, and more and more are becoming extinct. This is due to various social and cultural causes around the world.

Consequently, there is inevitably the loss of the identity of values, customs, and traditions that make each people and each tribe unique. Here globalization is presented as the most imminent enemy of these languages in danger of extinction.

In 2006, to continue to promote the use of languages, UNESCO appointed an interdisciplinary team to protect the different languages spoken throughout the five continents, and with this aim to maintain “plurilingualism.” Let us not forget that languages represent a large part of the cultural heritage of societies worldwide.

Among other action plans, it is included to incorporate some of these languages in danger of extinction into educational systems.

And how is International Mother Language Day celebrated?

It is customary to organize activities that claim the languages and dialects spoken around the entire planet in many countries: assemblies, conferences, meetings, among others, with this theme.

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