International Mother Language Day February 21.

I hope you enjoyed Valentines Day if it is on your list of annual celebrations. Personally, I am much more excited about International Mother Language Day, celebrated on the 21st of February every year since 2000. Originating from the Bengali Language Movement protests of the early 1950s, International Mother Language Day was formalised in 1999 by  UNESCO to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism. The date 21 of February is significant as it was on that day in 1952 that Bengali students protesting for their linguistic rights were shot and killed by police in Dhaka. That event is acknowledged by many as the beginning of Bangledesh’s struggle for independence.

The right to be taught at school in your mother language is protected under article 14 of the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, yet, unfortunately in many places across the globe, this right is ignored or suppressed resulting in the interruption of intergenerational transmission of languages and cultures. International Mother Language Day urges communities to celebrate and promote the use of their mother languages, hopefully creating increased awareness of issues surrounding linguistic rights and diversity.

In 2012 there is a photography competition being held to celebrate International Mother Language Day, which you can read about here. If you know of a International Mother Language event in your local area, we would much appreciate it if you share your event with us! Here are some links and videos about International Mother Language Day and past events from around the world.

-Annie

Article about International Mother Language Day in Ghana

International Mother Language Day Wikipedia 

International Mother Language Day celebrations at Sumy University, Ukraine

International Mother Language Day and Greek language education in Australia

International Mother Language Day 2010 press release from RNLD.

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2 Responses to International Mother Language Day February 21.

  1. KHALED says:

    it’s great to know how day by day more and more people around the world are becoming aware of The International Mother Language Day.
    Australia a great multicultural nation supporting the practice of multi culture and languages has added extra values to the day.
    Everyday, as nature is loosing its child one small community is loosing its mother language forever.
    Being a Bangladeshi, I feel proud of the day. As heroes were born that day, who had great respect for the mother language.
    That eventually endedup showing respect to all the languages of the world.
    The day also symbolises, our language may be different but how similar we are, respecting our mother tongue.

    • Hi Khaled,
      It is so nice to hear from you. I really appreciate your feedback. I feel grief for the heroes that died on 21 February 1952, they are heroes indeed. I hope you had a good International Mother Language Day this year. Australia certainly is multicultural, but unfortuantely I think the nation has a long way to go before linguistic diversity is respected and celebrated here. I hope for the future.

      Take Care
      Annie

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