Mandatory Disclosure

What are Mother Languages ?

Mother language is a language which is spoken by people from their childhood. Mother language is also called the mother tongue. Different mother languages are spoken in different states. For example – Marathi in Maharashtra, Punjabi in Punjab, Bengali in West Bengal, and Tamil in Tamil Nadu.

International Mother Language Day is celebrated on 21st February every year. The world has over 7,000 languages whereas India alone has about 22 officially recognized languages, 1635 mother tongues, and 234 identifiable mother tongues. International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The day also commemorates a long struggle by Bangladesh to protect its mother language Bangla. The resolution to mark 21st February as the International Mother Language Day was suggested by Rafiqul Islam, a Bangladeshi living in Canada.

The initiative is aimed at preserving and promoting mother languages. The aim is to protect the diverse culture and intellectual heritage of different regions of the world. According to the United Nations (UN), every two weeks, a language disappears and the world loses an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Due to globalization, the rush for learning foreign languages for better job opportunities is a major reason behind the disappearance of mother languages.

Global efforts are taken to protect the languages. The UN has designated the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. Earlier, the United Nations General Assembly had proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL). The Yuelu Proclamation, made by UNESCO at Changsha (China) in 2018, plays a central role in guiding the efforts of countries and regions around the world to protect linguistic resources and diversity.

India is also taking a lot of initiatives in this movement. The recently announced National Education Policy 2020 has given maximum attention to the development of mother tongues. The policy recommends that as far as possible, the medium of instruction shall be, at least till class 5, (preferably up to grade 8 and beyond) mother tongue / vernacular/regional language. Instructions in their mother tongue empower students with the subject and language of their choice. It will help in building a truly multilingual society in India, improve attendance and learning outcomes, and the ability to learn new languages.

By- Animesh Sangeet Gudade
Inspiring VII B