Embracing Linguistic Diversity: International Mother Language Day

Image depicting diverse languages and cultural symbols, symbolizing the celebration of International Mother Language Day and the embrace of linguistic diversity.
Embracing Linguistic Diversity: International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day, an annual commemoration, is dedicated to fostering global awareness and appreciation for linguistic and cultural diversity, along with promoting multilingualism. This significant day was instituted by the General Conference of UNESCO in November 1999, following an initiative put forth by Bangladesh. Its importance was further recognized and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2002, solidifying its international standing as a pivotal event in celebrating and safeguarding the world's linguistic heritage.

  • The theme for 2024 is "Multilingual education – a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning," emphasizing the significance of multilingual education policies in fostering inclusive education and preserving indigenous languages.
  • Multilingual education, starting with the learner's mother tongue and gradually introducing other languages, helps bridge the gap between home and school, facilitating effective learning.
  • Languages play a crucial role in identity, communication, social integration, education, and development. However, globalization processes pose a threat to linguistic diversity, leading to the gradual disappearance of languages.
  • Approximately 45% of the world's estimated 7000 languages are endangered, with only a fraction being incorporated into education systems, the public domain, and the digital world.
  • Multilingual and multicultural societies thrive through languages, which serve as vehicles for transmitting and preserving traditional knowledge and cultures sustainably.
  • An International Mother Language Day exhibition in New Delhi, organized by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), showcases the Global Symphony of Languages.
  • Themed "Akshar, Shabd, and Bhasha," the exhibition celebrates India's linguistic diversity, featuring quotes in the 22 scheduled languages of India. It aims to highlight the importance of mother languages and the urgent need to preserve endangered languages.

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