Time to celebrate linguistic diversity

Have you ever tried to talk to a toddler? If you are a guy who usually breaks the neighbour's window by a ball, you would definitely console the kid of that family. I think it is damn archaic and the best way to drop out a conflict...

Okay, have you ever noticed a peculiar thing that your so-called innocent neighbor kid respond to you in their own language. Have you wondered how they learned to respond like that? Research shows that mother tongue is the first language babies learn while they are still inside the womb. It is the language they grow up knowing and communicating with the world.

As we grow up, we may learn different languages but nothing can comfort your way of communicating like our mother tongue. Furthermore, native language actually builds your personality and influencing our cultural identity.

With the advent of globalization, it has become imperative for us to explore foreign languages. But this reason should not push us to alienate our native languages. Languages are not only a medium of communication but are also powerful tools for preserving our culture and heritage. When a language dies, a part of the culture also dies with it.

The impact of globalization is such that the indigenous people, also called the First Nations' people, have either lost or are in grave danger of losing their mother tongue. According to a UN report, at least 43% of 6000+ languages spoken around the world are endangered. In India, in a ballpark estimate, there are around 600 potentially endangered languages.

To prevent languages from becoming extinct, the UN introduced the International Mother Language Day in 1999. It is celebrated every year on February 21. The day also commemorates the death of 4 students who sacrificed their lives fighting to use their mother tongue Bengali in Dhaka. Nearly half of the world's 6500 languages are endangered. Experts predict that by 2050, most of the endangered languages would become extinct.

Language preservation is the effort to prevent languages from becoming unknown. A language is at risk of being lost when it no longer is taught to younger generations, while fluent speakers of the language (usually the elderly) die. Let us explore what we can do to protect our native languages.
  1. Speak in your mother tongue at home among your close circles.
  2. Make time to read stories in your native language. It is a fact that some of the best literary works were produced by authors in their mother tongue.
  3. Learn a new word everyday as it enriches your vocabulary and gives a strong foundation for you to express your thoughts to others more precisely in your native language.
  4. Ask a native speaker to help you with pronunciation or understanding of words.
  5. Find out the words used in different languages and try to collect the word in your native language.
  6. Always be engaged in language learning activities. Every language is like a code. It contains myths, lore, stories and ancient wisdom. Languages have evolved over time but old fashioned words still exist in the annals of literature, for they are preserved.
Scoop it up!
When Boa Sr, the last living member of a 65,000-year-old tribe in the Andaman Islands died in 2010, it was the end of Aka-Bo, one of the world’s oldest languages.


Hashtags: #InternationalMotherTongueDay #SupportOurLanguage


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