Conserving Cultural Diversity with International Mother Language Day
Language is a system of communication which consists of a set of sounds and written symbols which are used by the people of a particular country or region for talking or writing. In our daily life, we often hear ‘mother language’. What is mother language? It can be defined as a person’s native language or a language that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period.
Did you know that there are over 7.000 languages spoken in the world? But only less than a hundred are used in our daily life and in digital world. Meanwhile, a language disappears every two weeks. A fact proved that 40% of our population doesn’t have access to an education in their native language.
Every language in the world is unique. Every language represents its cultural characteristics. Every single language in the world, especially mother language, should be conserved to protect its existence. One of the methods that we can do to help preserving the language is to use it on a daily basis. Moreover, global community has a day called International Mother Language Day to promote linguistic.
International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on February 21. It is already authorized by UNESCO on November 17th, 1999. The date represents the day 21st February 1952 when four students were killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, because of Bengali and Urdu language controversy. Since that unfortunate incident, International Mother Language Day is celebrated all over the world, while it is a public holiday in Bangladesh.
By International Mother Language Day, UNESCO as a part of UN (United Nations), already celebrate this day for the past 20 years. Their purpose is to protect cultural and language diversity and to promote multilingual education based on mother language. Besides, they also want to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions all over the world and to inspire solidarity based on language understanding.