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International Mother Language Day 2018

With an objective to promote multilingualism and to spread awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, the International Mother Language Day is celebrated across the world on February 21.

National leaders including Vice President Venkaiah Naidu posted messages on micro-blogging site Twitter on this occasion to promote linguistic and cultural diversity

“Let us all strive to promote linguistic and cultural diversity on International Mother Language Day today, even while preserving and propagating our respective mother tongues. #MotherLanguageDay,” the vice president said in a tweet.

Twitter was filled with such messages to promote linguistic and cultural diversity on International Mother Language Day.

‏“Today is observed as the International Mother Language Day to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism. First announced by UNESCO in November 1999, to recognise the 1952 Bengali Language Movement in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan),” Mohandas Menon said on Twitter.

“Tomorrow is International Mother language day. Language symbolises who we are. As a linguist, I believe, to protect a language is a must to its people, and to make this happen you need to love your language first. #InternationalMotherLanguageDay,” Liza Laurella said on the micro-blogging site.

This day is being celebrated every year since 2000 to promote multilingualism and to protect all mother languages. The theme for this year is ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’

Being celebrated by the UNESCO for the past 20 years, the objective of this day is to preserve and promote mother tongue-based multilingual education.

“Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue,’ said a statement from the UN on this occasion.

The day is also observed to recognize the 1952 Bengali Language Movement in Bangladesh. On this day in 1952, people in Dhaka protested the then Pakistan government’s refusal to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages.

As per the date available from Census 2001, over 7,000 languages are there in the world and India alone has about 22 officially recognised languages, 1635 rationalised mother tongues, 234 identifiable mother tongues.

Manmath Nayak

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