There is much more to a language than the ability to communicate. Especially, mother Language plays a significant role in developing culture. February 21 is celebrated as the International Mother Language Day, a day to honor diverse languages of the world and advocate for their preservation.
The theme for the International Mother Language Day in 2022 was “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities“. It focuses on the potential role that technology could play in promoting multilingual education and helping to develop high-quality possibilities for teaching and learning for all students and teachers. The theme for the year 2023 is “multilingual education – a necessity to transform education“.
The Origin of the International Mother Language Day
February 21 has been designated as the World Mother Language Day in remembrance of the day in 1952 when four young students were slain in Bangladesh during a demonstration over a linguistic dispute between Bengali and Urdu. This incident took place in Bangladesh.
Following this sad tragedy and many years of discontent, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) concluded that International Mother Language Day should become an annual event observed worldwide. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated February 21 as “International Mother Language Day” on November 17, 1999.
Why do we need to celebrate International Mother Language Day?
Several languages are in danger of disappearing as a direct result of globalization. Therefore, maintaining their continuation is an essential component in sustaining cultures worldwide. There are around 6000 spoken languages in the world, and at least 43% of them are in danger of extinction. About once every two weeks, an entire language dies out, taking with it a rich cultural and intellectual heritage. Forty percent of the world’s population does not have access to education in a language they can comprehend.
Celebrating International Mother Language Day is vital because it helps to ensure that these languages do not become extinct. Moreover, it helps preserve various communities’ cultures, traditions, and history. Individuals must take pride in their native tongue and desire education.
Happy International Mother Language Day!