World mother language day

  • 04/03/2019
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The 21st of February 2016 marks 16 years since International Mother Language Day began, it has been observed every year since to promote linguistic cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

The term "Mother language" is used in several languages: lengua materna (Spanish), lingua madre (Italian) and langue maternelle (French).

On the 16th of May 2009, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution, called on its member states "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by people of the world". In the resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages to promote unity in diversity and international understanding through multilingualism and multiculturalism.

The resolution was suggested by Rafiq Islam, a Bengali living in Vancouver, Canada. He wrote a letter to Mr. Kofi Anan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations asking him to take a step for saving all the languages of the world from the possibility of extinction and to declare an International Mother Language Day. Rafiq proposed the date as the 21st February, the day of the 1952 killing in Dhaka on the occasion of language movement.

Languages are the most powerful instruments for preserving and developing our heritage. All moves to promote the circulation of mother tongues will not only 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 communication.



Vandu Language Services is based in Lewes, Sussex and has been helping organisations overcome the language barrier since 1999. We provide interpreting, translation, bilingual advocacy and cross cultural training for when you need to communicate clearly across cultures.



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