On the 21st of this month all over the world, international mother language day (IMLD) is celebrated. The 2020 theme was ‘languages without borders’ and probably it’s your first time reading about this topic, trust me you won’t regret it cause it’s one of the most important topics nowadays. On this occasion, UNESCO organized in Paris a space for reflection and dialogue on the contexts, challenges, and strategies to promote the right to multilingual education based on the mother tongue(s). Cause if you don’t understand, how can you learn?
On that conference day, the speakers showed the importance and benefits that education is in the language spoken at home (mother language). However, this minimum standard isn’t available for millions of children all over the world, which will delay the acquisition of critically important skills in both literacy and numeracy, and restrict their abilities in all ways. Their parents, friends, or relatives may be unfamiliar with the official language used in school if it wasn’t the same as the one used at home which may negatively affect their personalities, as it will strengthen the gaps in learning opportunities between majority and minority language groups. There’s a total of 40% of the global population does not have access to education in a language they speak or understand.
Languages represent both the culture of one’s community and the individual’s ethnic identity, and I really don’t understand why some people are ashamed of their languages, give me one reason why you’re not proud of our language who says that talking in your mother language is a shame could you tell me who said that?? Why don’t we be proud of what languages we speak? Being ashamed of your mother language is a shame itself not being proud of our mother language is not an option. The whole world celebrates your mother language every single year. So don’t listen to any racist dude who doesn’t respect your language. All languages are rich in history and culture, and respecting all the other languages isn’t an option.
Around the world, some local languages rather than vanishing, are in fact flourishing. Many of these flourishing languages are cross-border languages such as Kiswahili is one good example, this sub-Saharan African language is spoken by 120 to 150 million people. It is a hybrid tongue composed of linguistic elements from Southern Africa, Arabia, Europe, and India. Its evolution tells a rich story of migration, trade, slavery, colonialism. Today, it is both sub-Saharan Africa’s most important lingua franca and an enabling force promoting African unity and diplomacy. It is a national and official language in the United Republic of Tanzania, a national language in Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a cross-border lingua franca in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, northern Mozambique, and southern Somalia, and to a lesser extent, Malawi, Zambia, and southern Sudan. According to UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, there are currently 3000 languages at risk of disappearance such as; Irish Gaelic currently has over 40,000 estimated native speakers. There are several communities in Ireland, called Gaeltachts, where Irish is still spoken as the primary language.
In conclusion, we all have to support this day to help in saving these languages from disappearing. The policy of respecting language rights is essential and deserves close attention so no one is left behind. Never be ashamed of your mother language.