International Mother Language Day is being observed globally on Monday to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
The news: The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was an initiative of Bangladesh. It was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.
What they are saying: UNESCO believes in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies. Within its mandate for peace, it works to preserve the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others.
- Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear. Globally 40 per cent of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Nevertheless, progress is being made in mother tongue-based multilingual education with a growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling, and more commitment to its development in public life.
- Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way.
- UNESCO decided to observe the day as a commitment towards understanding the importance of a mother language (or mother tongue), particularly in early schooling.
- The International Mother Language Day is a step towards showing commitment to the development of mother language in public life.
- Theme of International Mother Language Day 2022: The theme of the 2022 International Mother Language Day is ‘Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities’, said UNESCO.
- UNESCO director-general Message: On the occasion, UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay said in a message, “Technology can provide new tools for protecting linguistic diversity. Such tools, for example, facilitating their spread and analysis, allow us to record and preserve languages which sometimes exist only in oral form. Put simply, they make local dialects a shared heritage. However, because the Internet poses a risk of linguistic uniformization, we must also be aware that technological progress will serve plurilingualism only as long as we make the effort to ensure that it does”.