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International Mother Language Day

The International Mother Language Day is observed on 21 February to promote linguistic, cultural diversity and multilingualism. Since the year 2000, International Mother Language Day is observed annually to promote and protect all mother languages.

It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November, 1999.

Each year a new theme is decided by the United Nations to celebrate this day. UNESCO hosts numerous events and encourages people not only to safeguard their mother language, but to also learn additional languages.

How is language losing its importance?

According to UN reports, 43% of the estimated 6000 languages are endangered. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in the education systems and the public domain and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

Globally, 40% of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Language is an important tool for preserving and developing our heritage. Due to globalisation, our language is under threat and requires movement or awareness to preserve it.

Importance of such observances

Language is one of the most powerful instruments of communication. Thousands of languages surround us, and feelings and emotions are expressed in these varieties of different dialects.

These days, be it at school, with family and friends or with vendors at shops, English has taken over other languages. At schools, children are made to talk compulsorily in English, and English has become the primary language for all. On this International Mother Language Day, let us revisit our mother tongues and talk and communicate in it.

Teachers can make this day a 'fun day' at school, and the classes interesting by making the children communicate in their respective mother tongues. This fun activity can help children learn at least 3 different languages.

The teacher can ask each child in the class to say, 'Good morning! I love reading books', in his/her respective mother tongue. When everyone is done, there will at least be 6-7 languages in which the children would have said the same thing and few different dialects of the same language in which they would have communicated. At the end, the class will be a refreshing one and each child would have at least learnt a few new words. Try it out in your classes!



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