International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is celebrated worldwide on the 21st of February of every year. It aims at promoting awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first  announced by UNESCO on November 17, 1999, and was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.

International Mother Language Day was a social movement built on the spirit to defend the rights to write in one’s mother language, and it has been being observed since 2000 to promote peace and multilingualism. On that day in 1952, students from the University of Dhaka, Jagannath College and Dhaka Medical College, who were demonstrating for the recognition of Bengali as one of the two national languages of East Pakistan, were shot dead by police which was back then under Pakistan government, near the Dhaka High Court in the capital of present-day Bangladesh (source: Wikipedia).

“Mother language” is the calque of a term used in several Romance languages. It is “lengua materna” in Spanish, “lingua madre” in Italian and “langue maternelle” in French.

In Arabic, mother language translates to اللغة الأم.

What is your mother language?



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