This Saturday, 21st of February, is UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day. Those of you who follow me in social media know that I have been actively campaigning to raise awareness for this day, to make it celebrated more widely across the world. It warms my heart that several other bloggers and language enthusiasts have joined me in the #IMLD campaign.
Why do I think the day is worthy of a higher profile? Because:
1. With the IMLD, UNESCO wants to promote diversity and multilingualism – concepts that are central to improving the understanding between cultures and countries. The IMLD has also been a vital part of UNESCO’s campaign for Education for All, with the aim to ensure that all children in the world get access to high quality education in their mother tongue.
2. We all have a mother tongue which is important to us – you can read this post for more musings on the term and my own “mother tongue” situation. We should all be proud of our mother tongue(s), use them and celebrate them, and IMLD is a perfect day for this.
3. Many of us are bilinguals and speak a language which is a minority language and one of the original languages of the country we live in. Far too many of these languages are under threat of disappearing due to lack of official support from governments. Speak out in your mother tongue on the IMLD!
4. More than half of the world’s population use more than one language in their everyday lives, i.e. 50%+ of all people are bilinguals. Many of us consider ourselves to have more than one mother tongue – IMLD is a great opportunity to speak about and celebrate bilingualism in the world.
5. I will take any excuse for a party, a family feast, a jolly get-together with relatives and friends or an on-line outreach across cultural and geographical borders!
What to do mark the International Mother Language Day? Some suggestions:
Have a party! Get together with your family and or friends with different language backgrounds. Share your stories, food and joy of languages with each other!
Check out if there are any IMLD events in your area.
Tweet in your mother tongue on Saturday, the 21st of February.
Schools and universities – check out UNESCO’s page of suggested activities to mark the day.
On Saturday, the 21st of February 2015, join us in our Google Hangout On Air where we (Multilingual Parenting Coaches) discuss the theme for this year’s IMLD “Inclusion in and through education: Language counts” and talk a about bilingual children. We will also answer questions placed to us during the broadcast. Welcome!
/// UPDATE – due to several unforeseen circumstances, instead of my fellow knowledgeable coaches I will be joined by the equally experienced Marianna Du Bosq from Bilingual Avenue.
The Hangout will also be screened live here:
Do let me know what your plans are for the day, or how you celebrated IMLD!