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International Mother Language Day February 21, 2008

Posted by Edwin in Multiculturalism.
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Today is designated to be the “International Mother Language Day”, whatever it might mean…

The United Nation has proclaimed 2008 the “International Year of Languages”, whatever it might mean. But still this seems to me more meaningful that the “International Mother Language Day”.

According to this UN link, the International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The same page provides a reference to this webpage, which contains several recommendations on action items, promoting multilingualism, such as:

“The early acquisition (in kindergartens and nursery schools) of a second language in addition to the mother tongue, offering alternatives.”

Now, I am totally confused. Perhaps someone could help me out. What on earth is this special day supposed to celebrate?!

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Comments»

1. Keith - February 24, 2008

Some people, as you are aware, grow up in an environment where the dominate language spoken is not their mother language. In such an environment, their “second” language becomes their native language and their mother language is weak. Often, these people do not pass on their mother language to their children.

I hope that we might be able to preserve bilingualism through generations of families. With this goal in mind, let’s celebrate International Mother Language Day, and appreciate our heritage languages.

2. Rmss - March 3, 2008

I’m going totally off-topic, so forgive me.

Edwin; are you busy or something? I always enjoyed your posts but there were just a few new posts lately. What’s wrong?

3. Edwin - March 3, 2008

Rmss,
Thanks for your question. Yes, I have been a little occupied since the end of January. I have moved to another team in my company, and I need to spend some time to settle in.

I guess I need to pick up some momentum again. Thanks for your encouragement!

4. Md.Nahidul Islam - September 28, 2008

Hello Mister keith,

Thanks for being very opened up with ur confusion abt Inter national Mother Language Day…..There is a group that has been created in Facebook for this day please join in if you have an account there.I belive you will be clear about the importance of this day if you will read all the informations and activities details that is posted with the group’s pictures and website links.Furthermore, If you are still confused to understand the significance of this day then please feel free to send me an email.Thank you.

5. Md.Nahidul Islam - September 28, 2008
6. Matiul Alam - January 26, 2009

Justification for observing International Mother Language Day is rooted in the heart of civilization that we want to renew and diversity we want to celebrate. Our languages, dignity, and cultural identities are more than our basic human survival needs. Let’s be mindful about who we are when we join our unjust culturally diverse world. Also, to empower ourselves we must learn about our cultural rights and responsibilities.

(UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity

The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was adopted unanimously at the 31st UNESCO General Conference. It aims to have a significant impact on humanising globalization and making it more culturally sensitive. It was an opportunity for States to reaffirm their conviction that inter-cultural dialogue is the best guarantee of peace and to reject the theory of the inevitable clash of cultures and civilizations.

The Declaration supports cultural diversity, cultural rights and the role of culture in development, reaffirmed in Article 5 “Cultural rights as an enabling environment for cultural diversity”:

“Cultural rights are an integral part of human rights, which are universal, indivisible and inter-dependent. The flourishing of creative diversity requires the full implementation of cultural rights as defined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in Articles 13 and 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. All persons have therefore the right to express themselves and to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice, and particularly in their mother tongue; all persons are entitled to quality education and training that fully respect their cultural identity; and all persons have the right to participate in the cultural life of their choice and conduct their own cultural practices, subject to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The declaration promotes multilingualism and encourages its application through the following objectives of its action plan:

5 — Safeguarding the linguistic heritage of humanity and giving support to expression, creation and dissemination in the greatest possible number of languages.

6 — Encouraging linguistic diversity – while respecting the mother tongue – at all levels of education, wherever possible, and fostering the learning of several languages from the earliest age.

7 — Promoting through education an awareness of the positive value of cultural diversity and improving to this end both curriculum design and teacher education).


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