International Mother Language Day

We use it everyday; in fact so often that it’s hard to believe that once upon a time we had to learn how to use it.
Back in the diaper days, we would respond to a familiar noise, and then mimic the way people around us demanded our attention. We would try to make the noises they made – the way they smacked their lips, moved their mouth into Ah! Eee! Oh! As our minds developed to understand the complex way to communicate with each other and express our feelings, opinions and thoughts language had already become a part of us without which the color of our lives would fade.
Native to Australia, UK, U.S, Canada and many more nations – English is a language widely learnt as a second language. So, we live in a world today where being a bilingual is quite the norm. Some of us speak English regularly with our variety of accents and at the same time speak an entirely different tongue at home. Shifting our wordplay from one set of vocabulary to another has become so easy for us that some of us do this seamlessly without even realising the major tongue-twist turn our voices, tone, words, and expressions have taken. I only came to realise this when a native English speaking friend stared at me bewildered as I hung up the phone with my mother:
“Did you just speak in two different languages simultaneously ? ” she exclaimed in awe.
February is a wonderful month to stop everything we’re doing, and consider for a moment only: our mother language.
The United Nations General Assembly formally recognised 21 February as International Mother Language Day to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The significance of this date is due to a demonstration by students and activists for recognition of their mother language, Bengali, where they were shot and some of them killed by police. The United Nations observes this day in tribute to the Language Movement and the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world.
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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s