Posts Tagged ‘Mother-tongue’

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.

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.

Mother-tongue scripture impact in Kasem

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 by Mark

Philip and Judy Hewer have been working with Wycliffe for many years. They lived for a long time in Ghana, West Africa, where they facilitated the translation of the New Testament into the Kasem language, as well as initiating adult literacy classes to help those who had not had a chance of going to school.

These days they are based in the UK where Philip works remotely on checking parts of the Old Testament which are being translated by a team of Kasem pastors in Ghana, making occasional trips out to work with them face-to-face.

Philip and Judy have recently started a blog, with an interesting post a couple of weeks ago:

I just came across a recent newspaper clipping, but I didn’t note which paper it came from. It’s headed “First in line: Foreign language advertising” and it’s by Emily Ford. The point being made is that, in advertising, one’s mother tongue works best. Based on a study from RSM Erasmus University in Rotterdam:

People who speak more than one language respond more acutely to marketing messages delivered in their native tongue.

read more…

Read the rest of the article to find out why the mother-tongue is so important in communicating important information and provoking a response, and take a look at the rest of their blog to see how Philip and Judy are helping to apply this principle in seeing God’s message of love translated into languages and lives.

You can also keep up to date with Philip’s upcoming trip to Ghana by following him on twitter!

Joys and Difficulties of Life Overseas

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 by Mark

Matt and Liz Wisbey are literacy workers in the southwest of Tanzania, working with speakers of 10 different languages in the Mbeya and Iringa Regions of the country. They have shared recently about a workshop which is currently in progress:

This week and next sees Liz leading our first Basic Literacy workshop. As I write she is teaching 8 playschool teachers from two of our language groups how to teach their children how to read and write their mother tongue.

A lot of time and hard work has gone into preparing for these two weeks, and the following work and follow-up, and so it is very exciting to finally see the books in the teachers’ hands and the teachers learning these new skills. read more

While helping people to learn to read and write in their mother-tongue for the first time can seem extremely exciting and rewarding, it can also be very tough for a young couple working in a completely different culture. Matt recently posted about some of the challenges they face:

Being a missionary (read ex-pat, anyone living across cultures) can be a lonely business.

As we leave our home culture and dive head long into a new foreign culture we leave many of our safety nets behind. Some of these nets can be found in this new culture, others cannot. Some can be found in the small ‘ex-pat community’ that inevitably exists in any reasonably sized town, others cannot.

Good friends, a community of people who you can share your joy, your despair, your hopes and your fears with, are the hardest things to find.

Yes if you want a network of people who you know, who you can ask for help or advice and who know the practicalities of your life, then this is possible. However I believe there is something deep inside of us that needs more than this. This need varies from person to person, from character to character, but I would argue this need is there in all people somewhere. read more

Take a look at Matt and Liz’s blog to discover some of the realities – both joys and difficulties – of living and working overseas.