International Mother Language Day 2023: History, Significance, Theme

The goal of celebrating International Mother Language Day is to promote multilingualism and ensure the long-term viability of indigenous languages and cultures.
International Mother Language Day 2023: History, Significance, Theme

HEvery year on February 21, the world celebrates International Mother Language Day to encourage linguistic, cultural, and multilingual diversity. The celebrations are an effort to promote multilingualism and encourage the sustainable preservation of traditional knowledge and cultural practices.

History and significance

The significance of languages goes beyond communication, as they have implications for identity, social integration, education, and development. However, globalization processes are posing a threat to languages, and many are fading or completely disappearing. This loss not only erodes cultural diversity but also results in the disappearance of valuable resources such as opportunities, traditions, memory, and unique ways of thinking and expression that are essential for a better future. Shockingly, a language disappears every two weeks, and about 43% of the world's estimated 6000 languages are at risk of being lost. Education systems and the public domain have only given a place to a few hundred languages, and less than a hundred languages are being used in the digital world.

In November 1999, UNESCO declared International Mother Language Day after it was proposed by Bangladesh. The United Nations General Assembly welcomed the idea in 2002. In May 2007, the UN General Assembly urged Member States to protect all languages used by people worldwide and declared 2008 the International Year of Languages to promote multiculturalism and multilingualism. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was chosen to lead the Year. Today, people are realizing the crucial role languages play in development, cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, cooperation, education, knowledge societies, heritage preservation, and sustainable development through science and technology.

International Mother Language Day 2023 theme

International Mother Language Day will be celebrated for the 24th time this year, with the theme "multilingual education: a necessity to transform education."

It follows from the idea that mother-tongue-based multilingual education is vital for ensuring that everyone gets access to education. People who speak minority languages can have equal access and participation in the educational system. 

At this UNESCO-sponsored event, participants will discuss how language learning can improve classroom instruction. It will also focus on supporting learning through multilingual education. 

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