International Mother Language Day

I just discovered that today is International Mother Language Day, and found this video about it:

According the the UN website,

“International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.”

The theme for this year is books for mother tongue education.

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This entry was posted in Language.

One Response to International Mother Language Day

  1. Jerry says:

    The paragraph above obviously deals with indigenous languages which are not respected in their own country or region. This is basically a good thing; languages should not be allowed to die if there is a chance of saving them.
    The video clip, however, deals, in part, with transplanted languages and multiculturalism.
    In my, not always, humble opinion, this is not necessarily a good thing. Here in Toronto, we claim to be the must ethnically diverse city in the world. This may, on the surface, make for an interesting city, and a source of pride for the government. There is no coherence; most immigrant groups tend to stick to them selves; the larger groups have their own radio, television, community centres, churches, mosques, or temples etc. They speak their own languages, marry withing their group etc. Their children are exposed to English when they go to school, often for the first time. They speak English only when out of necessity and usually revert back to their mother tongue. To make matters even worse, the schools offer “Heritage Language” programs. It is supposed to preserve languages. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am quite sure that Polish, Chinese, Punjabi, Urdu etc. will survive quite well without help from the Canadian taxpayers.)
    I find that the second generation immigrants are being put at a disadvantage by this idea of multiculturalism. I have noticed the vocabularies are getting smaller. Of course, the media could have something to do with that too; after all, it is just not “cool” to speak properly anymore.
    If the government was really serious about saving languages, they should preserve our own native tongues; almost every North American Indian languages is under threat of extinction. This would be far more desirable than preserving Arabic or Mandarin. I, too, am an immigrant to Canada and had to learn English as a semi-adult. (the few years in high school were a complete waste of time).