International Mother Language Day

24 February, 2018, 09:16 | Author: Kim Reid
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"It is the only non-religious celebration in Bangladesh", Anvita said, adding that research had shown that learning the mother tongue was essential to the enhancement of cognitive abilities in children. Language is fundamental to communication of all kinds, and it is communication that makes change and development possible in human society.

According to UNESCO, some 6,000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.

The Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World, co-authored by Dr Gabrielle Hogan-Brun from the School of Education at the University of Bristol, urges individuals, corporations, institutions and governments to tackle language discrimination, and develop language policies that advance multilingualism.

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"We demanded of government that Punjabi language be included as a compulsory subject in curriculum so that our children could learn about the enriched Punjabi culture", she said.

"On the occasion of this global day, UNESCO invites its Member States to celebrate, through a variety of educational and cultural initiatives, the linguistic diversity and multilingualism that make up the living wealth of our world", she concluded. The holiday was established in November of 1999 at the XXX session of the UNESCO General Conference in order to protect linguistic and cultural diversity.

Grade 12 pupils from religious schools across Pretoria who did exceptionally well in their languages were congratulated and encouraged to motivate their peers to celebrate languages.

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The date represents the day, 21st February 1952, when four young students were killed in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, because of Bengali and Urdu language controversy.

Even though the United Nations has recognised the important role of local languages, the irony is that 99% of the negotiations on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) were done in English and 100% of the outcomes of negotiations were written in English!

The messages from the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh on the day were read out.

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During the gathering, the high commissioner spoke of the significance of the day and touched upon historical aspects of the International Mother Language Day and its relevance in promoting the mother language among the next generation.

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