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Celebrate Mother Language Day – Language Magazine

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The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. It was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.

Cultural and linguistic diversity is essential for sustainable societies. It is in UNESCO’s mandate for peace that it works to preserve the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others.  

Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way.

Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear

Globally 40% of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Nevertheless, progress is being made in multilingual education with growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling, and more commitment to its development in public life.

Multilingual dove

© UNESCO/Montakarn Suvanatap

“The scientific studies are clear: learning in one’s mother tongue is essential to success at school. This boosts self-esteem, awakens curiosity from an early age, and facilitates cognitive development.” (…) “Advocating multilingualism in schools also means preserving and promoting linguistic plurality, especially with regard to languages which have only a few remaining speakers.”

UNESCO Director-General

Audrey AzoulayDirector-General of UNESCO

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