widenews desk: Today is International Mother Language Day. 21 February is a holiday that strives to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity by embracing and sharing our own native languages. International Mother Language Day was first announced by UNESCO in 1999 and is formally recognized by the United Nations.
On this day in 1952, students gathered in Dhaka (at that time in Pakistan) to demonstrate for recognition of our native tongue, the Bengali language, as a national language. Police shot and killed many of the students. International Mother Language Day was created to honor those who lost their lives and to support their dreams by preserving native languages across the world.
By accepting our differences and learning from each other, we can work towards building a world of mutual understanding and empathy.
Pakistan Today published a post of AYMEN ZAHEER, Lahore picked from editor’s mail on Tuesday which has been reposted for our valued readers
Languages have been formally categorised as L1 (the language that a child acquires from his parents, at home or it is a very first learning language) and L2, the second language which is acquired after L1. It’s often thought that any language other than native language is L2, as a linguist satirises:
‘If you speak your language, you are conservative,
If you speak the other’s language, you are modern.’
This year UNESCO will celebrate International Mother Language Day 2017 on the theme of “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education.
As a Pakistani, Urdu is our mother language along with other regional languages; Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Balochi etc. But most of the nation is hankering after L2. They have left L1 in the background, especially in the new generation.
A time will come when mother language would be a talk of old times. Parents are irrational; they are neglecting their intangible heritage just in order to continue in the rat race of modernism.
The efforts should be made on domestic, educational and governmental levels to protect L1 – the mother tongue.