Posts Tagged ‘International Mother Tongue Day’

International Mother Language Day 2017

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 by Alfred

February 21st is the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) International Mother Language Day.

It is a day to celebrate the diversity of languages around the world and to communicate the importance of valuing and protecting mother languages as being a vital part of culture.

The Director General of UNESCO reminds us of the personal and cultural importance of the mother languages:

‘The mother language, in which the first words are uttered and individual thought expressed, is the foundation for the history and culture of each individual…. Languages are the best vehicles of mutual understanding and tolerance. Respect for all languages is a key factor for ensuring peaceful coexistence, without exclusion, of societies and all of their members.’

UNESCO also notes the importance of mother languages in education:

‘Children who start off learning to read and write in their mother language do better in school. Literacy programmes in mother languages bring learners the self-confidence they need to participate in their community and make informed choices.’

The work Wycliffe Bible Translators does is part of preserving mother languages around the world, not for the sake of language alone, but so communities can know that God values them, and values their languages, as they are. Language should be a way of coming to God, not a barrier hindering people.

Wycliffe works not only to translate the Bible, but to develop writing systems in language groups that have never been written, to encourage literacy and to help communities with health care, agricultural information and learning their human rights.

Wycliffe is working on behalf of minority language groups worldwide; to provide God’s word in the mother tongue of every remaining language group that needs it.

Find out more about Wycliffe’s work and how you can support it.

Love your language: International Mother Language Day

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by Hannah

Today – February 21st – is Unesco’s International Mother Language Day. It’s a day to celebrate the linguistic diversity and richness of the nearly-7,000 languages spoken around the world.

The Martyrs Memorial at Dhaka University, commorating the 1952 protests.

The day has been celebrated since a UN resolution in 1999, but the history goes back much further. In 1949, Urdu was declared the national language in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). Bangla (Bengali) speakers, eager to maintain their own linguistic identity, protested. Mother Language Day’s date comes from the crisis point reached on February 21st 1952, when students involved in a protest were killed by police. Their deaths are remembered in Bangladesh on this day every year.

Bengali is now one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. But many languages communities, whose languages are not used as widely, still suffer discrimination and oppression. International Mother Language Day calls for respect for all languages:

‘Mother languages, along with linguistic diversity, matter for the identity of individuals. As sources of creativity and vehicles for cultural expression, they are also important for the health of societies…. Mother language instruction is a powerful way to fight discrimination.’ Unesco Director-General speaking last year.

Photo from Unesco

This year’s theme for the day is mother-tongue education.  Most people can’t learn to read and write in a language they don’t know; not providing education first in the mother-tongue before in secondary languages prohibits many people – usually those speaking minority languages – from advancing in literacy and other education.

People’s heart languages are central to culture, community, education and identity. All Wycliffe’s work seeks to promote the use and love of people’s own language, whether through Bible translation, literacy work, mother-tongue education programmes or encouraging use of the Scriptures in the mother-tongue.

We want to celebrate mother languages in practical ways. Find out how you could join Wycliffe in supporting minority languages around the world.

UNESCO International Mother Language Day

Monday, February 21st, 2011 by Hannah

On 21 February, UNESCO celebrate mother-tongue languages around the world.  The date commemorates the death of two Bangla speakers, who, in 1952, were shot by police for protesting for national recognition of their mother tongue.

Bangla (or Bengali) is now the primary language of Bangladesh.  The continued use of the mother tongue even when Bangla speakers were a minority before independence, helped to preserve culture and heritage of the people.

But unlike Bengali, many mother-tongue languages are spoken by linguistic minorities; because they don’t speak a majority language, speakers of minority languages often don’t receive the same respect and don’t have access to education in their mother-tongue.

The Director General of UNESCO reminds us of the personal and cultural importance of the mother languages:

“The mother language, in which the first words are uttered and individual thought expressed, is the foundation for the history and culture of each individual…. Languages are the best vehicles of mutual understanding and tolerance. Respect for all languages is a key factor for ensuring peaceful coexistence, without exclusion, of societies and all of their members.”

Wycliffe Bible Translators believe in the importance of mother-tongue languages.  The work of Bible translation is inextricably connected to language development and literacy, helping to preserve languages and protecting the cultures of minority language groups.

Celebrate mother tongue languages by finding out how you can give the Bible to someone in their mother-tongue.