Language is the mean to facilitate communication from one person to another. Our history, stories, customs, traditions and aspects of our culture are all tied up with the language we speak. The importance of language is essential to every aspect and interaction in our everyday lives. There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. The most popular language in the world is Mandarin Chinese. There are 1,213,000,000 people in the world that speak that language. However, the most important language for anyone in any part of the world is their mother language. Through mother language, social and cultural barriers can be diminished.
You can think, express your views, ideas and thoughts better in your mother language as compared to any other language in the world. It brings a sense of belonging and is like a common link between people. Mother language is the sociolinguistic identity of a person. It should be promoted to protect diversity.
In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to make February 21st as International Mother Language Day. The following year, on Feb. 21, 2000, it was observed for the first time. Each year, UNESCO hosts numerous events that promote the linguistic and cultural diversity.The main purpose for the observance of this day is to help people maintain the knowledge of their mother language while learning and using more than one language. Each year, a new theme is chosen by the United Nations to celebrate the day. This year the theme for International Mother Language Day is “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.
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. 43% of the world’s 6000 languages are considered as to be endangered, where we lose another language every fortnight. Languages are dying. It’s our duty to protect our heritage and that of others, let’s embrace and celebrate languages to keep them alive!
NAYS-Pakistan, on this International Mother Language Day, is keeping our faith in preserving and celebrating languages to safeguard and develop our heritage. The day does not only serve us to promote the preservation of mother tongues, but serves to encourage linguistic diversity, multilingual education and to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world.
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Article: Sundeela Fayyaz