International Mother Language Day

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WC Desk:

Image Source: Getty Images

“True that Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Jabbar and Shafiur are the inseparable names when it comes to remembering the Language Movement.

But there were women too, fighting shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts for the right to speak in Bangla.

In fact, women were the first to hit the streets defying the curfew and gather under the historic Amtala on the Dhaka University campus on February 21, 1952.

Rowshon Ara’s group was among the first to break the police barricade and to keep marching towards the assembly at Jagannath Hall at DU.” (Daily Star)

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost.

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

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

2018 Theme: Linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development

To foster sustainable development, learners must have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages. It is through the mastery of the first language or mother tongue that the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy are acquired. Local languages, especially minority and indigenous, transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus play an important role in promoting sustainable futures.

International Mother Language Day also supports target 6 of Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.”

International Mother Language Day has been observed annually since 2000 to promote peace and multilingualism around the world and to protect all mother languages. It is observed on February 21 to recognize the 1952 Bengali Language Movement in Bangladesh.

Reproduced from UN website.

 

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