The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has marked the 19th International Mother Language Day with the replication of its commitment to defend and promote languages, particularly mother tongues and indigenous languages, across the world.
“A language is far more than a means of communication; it is the very condition of our humanity,” UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay said in a message on International Mother Language Day on Wednesday.
On the occasion of the International Mother Language Day 2018 today, UNESCO invites its member countries to celebrate the day with various educational and cultural initiatives, the linguistic multiplicity and multilingualism that make up the living wealth of our world.
“In order to preserve and vitalize this essential component of the intangible heritage of humanity, UNESCO has been actively engaged for many years in the defense of linguistic diversity and the promotion of multilingual education.”
“Every two weeks, one of the world’s languages disappears, and with it goes part of our human history and cultural heritage. Promoting multilingualism also helps to stop this programmed extinction.”
She also said that UNESCO supports language policies, particularly in multilingual countries, which promote mother languages and indigenous languages.
UNESCO recommends the use of these languages from the first years of schooling because children learn best in their mother language. Languages should be encouraged to use in public spaces and especially on the Internet, where multilingualism should become the rule.
“Everyone, regardless of their first language, should be able to access resources in cyberspace and build online communities of exchange and dialogue. Today, this is one of the major challenges of sustainable development, at the heart of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.”