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  • 21 February, 2023

  • 7 Min Read

International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day

  • Every year, International Mother Tongue Day is observed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to encourage mother tongue-based multilingual education.
  • It was discovered on February 21, 2023, World Mother Language Day, that India is losing many of its languages as a result of modernization and globalisation, mainly because of the lack of education.
  • "Multilingual education - a must to transform education" is the theme for 2023.

Background and History:

  • The concept of International Mother Language Day originated in Bangladesh.
  • The day (February 21) also honours Bangladesh's protracted battle to preserve its native Bangla language.
  • This day was declared by the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's General Conference in November 1999. (UNESCO).
  • In its resolution from 2002, the UN General Assembly praised the declaration of the day.
  • The United Nations General Assembly urged its members to "support the preservation and safeguarding of all languages used by peoples of the globe" in a resolution that was adopted on May 16, 2007.
  • At that time, the UNGA declared 2008 to be the International Year of Languages in order to encourage multiculturalism and multilingualism as well as unity in variety.

What is International Mother Language Day?

  • In 1999, UNESCO designated February 21 as International Mother Language Day, and since 2000, people all around the world have observed it.
  • The day also honours Bangladesh's protracted battle to preserve its native Bangla language.
  • Rafiqul Islam, a Bangladeshi resident in Canada, proposed the idea to designate February 21 as International Mother Language Day.
  • Goal: To protect cultural diversity, UNESCO has emphasised the value of mother-tongue-based education. To that end, the International Decade of Indigenous Languages was established.
  • According to the United Nations (UN), a language vanishes every two weeks, wiping out the world's whole cultural and intellectual legacy.

Significance of the Mother Language Day:

  • Languages are crucial for people and the environment because of their complex effects on identity, communication, social integration, education, and development. However as a result of processes of globalisation, they are coming under more and more pressure or maybe going extinct.
  • Based on global data, the overall figures demonstrate that:
  • 40% of people worldwide lack access to education in a language they can speak or comprehend.
  • At least 43% of the 6,000 or so languages that are believed to be spoken worldwide are in risk.
  • A language vanishes every two weeks, carrying with it a complete cultural and intellectual legacy.

Global Efforts for the Protection of Languages:

  • The International Decade of Indigenous Languages will run from 2022 to 2032, according to the UN.
  • Earlier, the United Nations General Assembly had proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL).
  • The Yuelu Proclamation, issued by UNESCO in Changsha (China) in 2018, is essential in directing international efforts to preserve linguistic diversity and resources.

India & Languages:

  • There are 121 official languages and 270 mother tongues in India, according to the 2011 Census. 22 of the 121 languages spoken on earth have official status.
  • The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) that was implemented in India places a strong emphasis on using the mother language as much as possible. A "Three Language Formula" will be used, allowing the state government to teach regional languages in addition to Hindi and English.
  • The National Translation Mission (NTM), a program to create a translation as a business in general and to promote higher education by making scholarly books available to students and academics in Indian languages in particular, was also introduced by the Indian government.
  • The Program for Conservation and Preservation of Endangered Languages has also been introduced by the government. This program focuses on protecting endangered languages.
  • Project Navlekha was also presented by Google. an effort to increase the relevance of online material for Indian consumers, particularly in regional tongues.

India's Initiatives to Protect Indigenous Languages:

  • The government has introduced the "Bhasha Sangam" program to encourage schoolchildren to study and value other languages, particularly their mother tongues.
  • Also, the initiative seeks to enhance cultural diversity and multilingualism.
  • Central Institute of Indian Languages: The Central Institute of Indian Languages, which is devoted to the study and advancement of Indian languages, was also founded by the government.
  • The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) is funding the publication of university-level books in regional languages by offering publication grants.
  • It was founded in 1961 with the goal of improving technical vocabulary in all Indian languages.

Way Forward

  • The loss of languages could pose a serious threat to global culture and history if appropriate global measures are not implemented. Linguistic and cultural diversity are promoted by International Mother Language Day.

Source: The Hindu

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