Welcome, language lovers! Do you know that, while you are reading these words, the world is celebrating the International Mother Language Day 2021?
Have you ever heard about the event that takes place every 21 February? UNESCO first proclaimed it in 1999 to promote multilingualism and raise awareness of linguistic diversity around the world. In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly announced the Sustainable Development Global Goals, outlining the way to a peaceful, prosperous, healthy future for all.
Multilingualism guarantees inclusion, therefore it works towards the United Nations’ objective to leave no one behind.
According to the Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger1, at least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are at risk of extinction. Why? UNESCO points to the fact that only a few hundred languages are present in education systems and public domains. In the digital world, we recognize less than a hundred. The International Mother Language Day promotes early childhood education in mother tongues as being fundamental for learning. Inclusive schooling in times of the pandemic is more important than ever. Families, teachers and policymakers should come together to ensure multilingual education for children all over the world. Today’s event is an introduction to the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages that starts in 2022.
TermCoord is celebrating the International Mother Language Day in our favourite way – by learning! Watch the educational video by BBC to find out the origin behind the term ‘mother tongue’. Why do we call our first language like that? And what does gender have to do with it? Let’s find out!
United Nations. 2021. International Mother Language Day. [ONLINE]
Available at: https://www.un.org/en/observances/mother-language-day. [Accessed 18 February 2021].
Written by Magdalena Sikorska. She holds a Bachelor in Italian Language and Literature as well as master’s degrees in Journalism and Social Communication and Polish Philology.