International Mother Language Day

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International Mother Language Day
Official name International Mother Language Day
Significance To "promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world"[1]
Date February 21
Next time 21 February 2016 (2016-02-21)
Duration One day
Frequency Annual
Abstract outdoor monument reminiscent of a prison
Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument), at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital in Bangladesh, commemorates those who were killed in the 21 February 1952 Bengali Language Movement demonstration.

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. First announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999, it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.[2][3][4]

History[edit]

International Mother Language Day has been observed since 2000[5] to promote peace and multilingualism. The date corresponds to the day in 1952 when students from the University of Dhaka and Dhaka Medical College, demonstrating for the recognition of Bangla as one of the two national languages of East Pakistan, were shot dead by police near the Dhaka High Court in the capital of present-day Bangladesh.

"Mother language" is the calque of a term used in several Romance languages: lengua materna (Spanish), lingua madre (Italian) and langue maternelle (French). A more fluent English translation would be "mother tongue", although "native language" is the most comprehensible term in English. In linguistics, "mother language" refers to an ancestral (or proto-language) of a language family.

Group of people holding signs and banners
2015 Mother Tongue Day in Islamabad, with demonstrators demanding that Punjabi (the mother tongue of most Pakistanis) be made an official language of Pakistan
"Celebration of Ekushey February in Alberta, Canada"

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62). On 16 May 2009 the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/61/266, called on its member states "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world".[6] 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.

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.

—from the United Nations International Mother Language Day microsite[7]

Timeline[edit]

  • 2000: Inaugural celebration of International Mother Language Day
  • 2001: Second annual celebration
  • 2002: Linguistic-diversity theme, with 3,000 endangered languages (slogan: In the galaxy of languages, every word is a star.)
  • 2003: Fourth annual celebration
  • 2004: Children-learning theme; the UNESCO observance included "a unique exhibition of children’s exercise books from around the world illustrating the process by which children learn and master the use of written literacy skills in the classroom".[8]
  • 2005: Braille and sign languages
  • 2006: Languages and cyberspace
  • 2007: Multilingual education
  • 2008: International Year of Languages
  • 2009: Tenth annual celebration
  • 2010: International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures
  • 2011: Information and communication technologies
  • 2012: Mother-tongue instruction and inclusive education
  • 2013: Punjabi
  • 2014: Turkish
  • 2015: Inclusion in and through education: language counts (with an event in Paris)[9]

International observances[edit]

Outdoor ceremony, with girls in red-and-white costumes dancing
Dedication of the International Mother Language Day Monument in Ashfield Park, Sydney, 19 February 2006

UNESCO chooses a theme for each International Mother Language Day, and sponsors related events at its Paris headquarters on or around 21 February each year. In 2008, the International Year of Languages formally began on International Mother Language Day.

People have shaped the way of celebrating International Mother Language Day. The celebration of the day among with the topic of multilingual diversity has inspired a number of international, national and provincial award ceremonies.

Celebration of International Mother Language Day[edit]

In Bangladesh[edit]

Group of people laying down flowers at a replication of the Martyr's Monument

In respect of the language martyrs (see Language Movement Day) — the students who died during a protest at the University of Dhaka on February 21, 1952 — the people in Bangladesh celebrate International Mother Language Day by laying down flowers to the Martyr's Monument (Shaheed Minar) and replications of that monument.[10]

The people organize social gatherings, where they honour their language and culture, and hold literary competitions, draw Alpana on the roads, eat festive meals and listen to event themed songs, e.g. the "Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano" (translated: "Coloured in the blood of my brother").[10][11]

Outside Bangladesh[edit]

International Mother Language Day is celebrated all over the world in countries like e.g. Chile, Russia, Philippines, Egypt and in Canada.[12]

During the month of February, especially on February 21st, many people with different origins e.g. from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India are celebrating International Mother Language Day following the traditional example of the celebrations in Bangladesh. Replications of the Martyr's Monument are created and placed on a publicly available place, so that the people can honour the causalities from the protest in 1952. In events where people gather together to celebrate the topic of lingual diversity, people discuss and present their ideas and experiences, and use the occasion to cherish their cultural heritage.

Sponsorship and Awards[edit]

International Mother Language Day has inspired multiple organizations to recognize individual people for outstanding services to the community, and for the preservation of linguistic diversity and connected topics. In Alberta BHESA's Ekushey Heritage Awards & MJMF's Youth Awards were distributed by Delwar Jahid,[[^[13]]]the president of Bangladesh PressClub of Alberta [[^[14]]], [[^[15]]],[[^[16]]] in the separate occasions.

International Linguapax Award[edit]

The International Linguapax Award is awarded annually on 21 February on International Mother Language Day by Linguapax International in Barcelona, Spain. It aims to recognize and award the actions carried out in different areas in favour of the preservation of linguistic diversity, revitalization and reactivation of linguistic communities and the promotion of multilingualism.[17]

Ekushey Heritage Award[edit]

Recipients of the BHESA Ekushey Heritage Award 2015

The Ekushey Heritage Award is an appreciation for people who stand out exceptionally in helping their community. It was introduced in 2014 by the Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta (BHESA) located in Alberta, Canada and is awarded annually. Today the award is open for people residing in the Province of Alberta, and considered is the work of the recipients in fields like education, social work, and community services. The achievement may be awarded to multiple recipients and is officially announced on International Mother Language Day.[18]

Ekushey Youth Award[edit]

The Ekushey Youth Award has been introduced in February 2015 by the Mahinur Jahid Memorial Foundation (MJMF) and will be awarded annually to recipients, who stand out inspiring a young audience with their work and contributions in the fields of education, sports, youth activities, literature and community services here. The honour may be awarded multiple times and is open to residents of the Province of Alberta in Canada. The Ekushey Youth Award is announced on International Mother Language Day.[19]

Implementation of Mother Language Day[edit]

International Mother Language Day is a public holiday in Bangladesh since 1953,[20] where it is also known as Shohid Dibôsh, or Shaheed Day. It is a global observance but not a public holiday in other parts of the world. At 17 November 1999 the UNESCO General Conference officially recognized February 21 as International Mother Language Day.[21]

Implementation in Canada[edit]

Proclamation for the Province of British Columbia

International Mother Language Day has been introduced to the Canadian Parliament for recognition by Mr. Matthew Kellway on February 5, 2014. The introduction has been made in form of a Private Member's Bill, Bill C-573 (view Bill), the International Mother Language Day Act.[22]

In 2015 two Canadian provinces, the Province of British Columbia and the Province of Manitoba have passed proclamations to officially observe International Mother Language Day on February 21.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "International Mother Language Day 2015: Five languages on verge of extinction". International Business Times. 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  2. ^ U.N. General Assembly, Sixty-first Session, Agenda item 114, Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, 61/266. Multilingualism (A/RES/61/266)
  3. ^ Ingles. Cuerpo de Maestros. Temario Para la Preparacion de Oposiciones .e-book,. MAD-Eduforma. pp. 97–. ISBN 978-84-665-6253-9. 
  4. ^ Rahim, Abdur (19 September 2014). Canadian Immigration and South Asian Immigrants. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 102–. ISBN 978-1-4990-5874-1. 
  5. ^ "Espousing language mom taught us". Deccan Herald. 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Resolution adopted by the General Assembly" (PDF). Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "International Mother Language Day". United Nations. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  8. ^ UNESCO, "International Mother Language Day 2004"
  9. ^ "International Mother Language Day Celebration 2015". Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Riya Karin & Shoha Islam, "Journey to Inclusion in & through Education: Language Counts", Bangladesh PressClub Centre of Alberta (BPCA), Published February 20, 2015 in the Mother Language Magazine 2015 (Page 31), Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  11. ^ Jonathan and Prithwi Raj, Ekushe February (instrumental), YouTube, February 21, 2012, Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  12. ^ City TV, Diverse-City 02.25.14, YouTube, February 25, 2014, Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  13. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delwar_Jahid
  14. ^ http://www.pressclubofalberta.com/index.php/en/
  15. ^ http://www.bhesa.ca/
  16. ^ http://www.bostonbanglanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38638%3A2015-05-02-13-33-26&catid=41%3A2010-10-11-16-44-06&Itemid=131
  17. ^ "International Linguapax Award", Website of Linguapax International at http://www.linguapax.net, Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  18. ^ "Ekushey Heritage Award", Website of Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta (BHESA) at http://www.bhesa.ca, Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  19. ^ "Ekushey Youth Awards", Website of Mahinur Jahid Memorial Foundation (MJMF) at http://www.mjmf.org, Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  20. ^ Professor Kabir Choudhury, "21st February: International Mother Language Day", Bangladesh PressClub Centre of Alberta (BPCA), Published February 20, 2015 in the Mother Language Magazine 2015 (Page 34), Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  21. ^ "International Mother Language Day, 21 February", Website of United Nations', Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  22. ^ "Bill C-573, International Mother Language Day Act", 'Open Parliament at http://openparliament.ca, Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  23. ^ Implementation of Mother Language Day in Canada, Published by Bangladesh PressClub Centre of Alberta (BPCA) at http://www.motherlanguageday.ca, Retrieved 2015-05-07.

External links[edit]