Feb 22, 2013 at 10:50am
International Mother Language Day
21st February is International Mother Language Day. The day is celebrated worldwide to highlight the use of mother tongue as an outlet for cultural preservation and for the overall socio-economic development of the individual. International Mother Language Day was instituted by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. In a message, UNESCO's Director General, Irina Bokora, said a plural linguistic atmosphere allows the wealth of diversity to be shared which accelerates the exchange of knowledge and experience. In this feature, Rebecca Ekpe of Radio Ghana looks at International Mother Language Day and the attempt by some parents to speak their mother tongue at home.
International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999. Its observance was also formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since 2000 February to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bengali, 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.
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62).On 16 May 2009 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/61/266 called upon Member States "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world". By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism.
Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.