International Mother Language Day is observed every year on February 21. The day is observed to encourage global linguistic and cultural variety, as well as multilingualism. Language has a huge cultural and intellectual history in addition to being a medium of communication.
“Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and Opportunities” is the subject for 2022. The emphasis is on technology’s potential role in advancing multilingual education and supporting the development of high-quality teaching and learning for all.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY
The day began on February 21, 1952, when Pakistani soldiers opened fire on Bangla-speaking civilians, resulting in several deaths and the establishment of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh was the driving force behind the creation of International Mother Language Day, which was approved by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference in 1999 and has been observed yearly since then. In the year 2000, the inaugural International Mother Language Day was commemorated all around the world.
SIGNIFICANCE OF INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY
The day symbolises how an intergovernmental organisation like UNESCO views cultural and linguistic variety as critical to the long-term sustainability of society. It is within UNESCO’s mandate for peace that it seeks to maintain the distinctions in cultures and languages that develop tolerance and respect for variety, according to the organisation.
As more languages become extinct, linguistic diversity is more threatened. According to the United Nations, 40% of the world’s population lacks access to education in a language they speak or comprehend. Native languages are promoted and attempts to preserve them are made on days like these.
Progress is being made in mother tongue-based multilingual education, with a rising recognition of its relevance, particularly in early schooling, and increased dedication to its growth in public life.
Facts about the 2022 International Mother Language Day
According to the United Nations, a language is lost every two weeks, and at least 43% of the world’s estimated 6000 languages are endangered.
India has 121 different languages. Part A of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India specifies 22 of them, whereas part B specifies the remaining 99. In addition, India has 270 different mother tongues.
According to the 2011 census, Hindi is India’s most popular language, spoken by more than 52 million people, whereas Sanskrit is spoken by just 24,821 persons. English is classified as a non-scheduled language, meaning it is not listed in the eighth schedule.
Some mother tongues, such as Bhojpuri (5 million), Rajasthani (2.5 million), Chhattisgarhi (1.6 million), and Magahi or Magadhi, are spoken by millions but do not have the status of languages (1.27 cr).