International Mother Language Day
“And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed, in that are signs for those of knowledge.”
(Sura Rum, verse 22)
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
To promote Language diversity and variety worldwide the United Nations’ (UN) celebrates annually International Mother Language Day on 21 February. It also commemorates the sacrifice of some students who demonstrated on the streets against the decision enacted in 1952 by the then government to officially enforce Urdu as the state language; despite the fact that majority spoke Bengali in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
UNESCO announced 21 February as the International Mother Language Day in 1999. International Mother Language Day promotes the diversity of languages, and displays social cohesion, cultural awareness, and moderation. Through the celebration of International Mother Language Day, the unique distinctions and intricacies of linguistic communication are appreciated and cheered as they unite individuals to culture, tradition, practices and personal identity.
Estimates go like this, 80% of the world’s languages may vanish within the next century. This sort of language death or loss often involves political, colonial, economic reasons along with human rights violations, repression, oppression, prejudice, violence, and on occasion ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Scholars and activists say language loss or shift might cause weakened communities and dysfunctional behaviors. Our psychological, social, and physical well-being is connected with our native tongue since it outlines our morals, self-image, identity, and social interactions.
As educators and sensible members of the international community we must work together to safeguard linguistic rights, multilingualism and revive endangered languages since social justice and sustainable development rely on these factors significantly.
21 February 2018
King Khalid University, KSA