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When is International Mother Language Day 2024? Know date, history, significance and more

Commemorate International Mother Language Day on February 21st with insight into its history & significance. Explore the importance of linguistic diversity & how technology fosters multilingual learning for a more inclusive world.

Rahul Pratyush Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: February 21, 2024 7:15 IST
International Mother Language Day 2024
Image Source : FILE IMAGE International Mother Language Day 2024: Date, history, theme & more

Every year on February 21st, the world comes together to celebrate International Mother Language Day. This special day, recognised by UNESCO, serves as a powerful reminder of the incredible diversity of languages spoken across the globe and the vital role they play in shaping our lives, identities, and cultures.

International Mother Language Day 2024: History

The origins of International Mother Language Day lie in the tragic events of 1952 in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). On February 21st of that year, four students were tragically killed while protesting for the recognition of Bengali as an official language. Their sacrifice sparked a movement that resonated globally, highlighting the struggle for linguistic rights and cultural identity.

In 1999, UNESCO officially declared February 21st as International Mother Language Day, recognising the significance of linguistic diversity for cultural heritage, communication, and education. This day serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made for language rights and the ongoing need to protect endangered languages around the world.

International Mother Language Day 2024: Theme

The focus of International Mother Language Day 2024 is on "Multilingual education – a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning." This theme underscores the significance of safeguarding cultural heritage and traditional wisdom embedded in mother tongues, while also stressing the role of multilingualism in fostering harmony and sustainable progress.

International Mother Language Day 2024: Significance

Our mother tongue is more than just a means of communication; it's a window into our cultural identity, shaping our thoughts, values, and worldview. It carries the unique traditions, stories, and knowledge of our communities, passed down through generations.

However, with over 7,000 languages spoken worldwide, many face the threat of disappearing due to globalisation, assimilation, and lack of resources. International Mother Language Day serves as a critical reminder to:

Celebrate and preserve linguistic diversity: Every language holds immense cultural and intellectual wealth. By promoting their use and learning, we enrich our understanding of the world and foster appreciation for different cultures.

Promote multilingualism: Learning and using multiple languages expands our cognitive abilities, enhances communication skills, and opens doors to new opportunities.

Advocate for language rights: Everyone has the right to use and learn their mother tongue. International Mother Language Day encourages policies and initiatives that support linguistic diversity and inclusion.

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