International Mother Language Day, celebrated on February 21 each year, raises awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity. It is also a day set aside to promote multilingualism. The first language a person learns is known as their mother tongue. A person’s identity is influenced by their native language. Some people consider their mother tongue to be extraordinarily beautiful. This is particularly true if they reside in a region where their native language is not used.
For them, speaking their mother tongue allows them to maintain ties to their country of origin and culture. Unfortunately, a mother tongue goes extinct every two weeks. When this happens, an entire cultural heritage also vanishes. 43 percent of the 6,000 languages spoken in the world are in danger of extinction. In the future, these endangered languages will disappear. There are a number of reasons why languages are threatened.
Some languages are simply supplanted by more frequently spoken ones. The younger generations of youth are not learning other languages. There are thousands of languages today that have only one living native speaker. When that individual dies, so does his language. He learns with us about this day.
Theme of International Mother Language Day 2023
International Mother Language Day 2023 will focus on the theme “multilingual education: a necessity to transform education”.
2023 International Mother Language Celebrations
DayThe 24th edition of International Mother Language Day will focus on the theme ‘Multilingual education: a necessity to transform education’.
Multilingual education based on the mother tongue facilitates access and inclusion in learning for population groups that speak non-dominant languages, languages of minority groups and indigenous languages. The event organized by UNESCO on February 21 will explore and discuss the potential of multilingualism to transform education from a lifelong learning perspective and in different contexts.
Discussions will be based around the following three interconnected themes
Improving multilingual education as a necessity to transform education in multilingual contexts from early childhood education and well beyond;
Support learning through multilingual education and multilingualism in our rapidly changing global contexts and in crisis situations, including emergency contexts;
Revitalization of endangered or endangered languages.
History of International Mother Language Day
The day was recognized at the request of Bangladesh and has been honored globally since 2000, according to the UNESCO website. UNESCO expressed concern about the global loss of languages. According to the report, 40% of the world’s population lacks access to education in a language they can speak or understand.
UNESCO therefore decided to observe the day as part of its commitment to recognize the value of the mother tongue (or mother tongue), particularly in early learning. One step towards demonstrating dedication to the advancement of the mother tongue in public life is International Mother Language Day.
Mother tongues spoken in India
According to census data, more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken as the main language in India. According to the report, there are 121 languages spoken by 10,000 or more people in India. The 121 languages fall into two categories: languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which includes 22 languages, and languages not listed there, which includes 99 languages.
Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santali, Maithili and Dogri are among the programmed languages included in the Eighth Annex of the Constitution.
Originally, the Constitution was written in 14 of these languages. In 1967, the Sindhi language was added. After that, three other languages were included: Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali in 1992. Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santali were added in 2004.
Indian initiatives to protect mother tongues
The recently announced National Education Policy 2020 has paid the utmost attention to the development of mother tongues.
The Commission on Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) awards grants for the publication of university-level books in regional languages.
It was established in 1961 to develop technical terminology in all Indian languages.
The National Translation Mission (NTM) is being implemented through the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore, under which textbooks of various subjects prescribed in universities and colleges are being translated into all languages of the Eighth Program.
Scheme “Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages” for the conservation of endangered languages.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) also promotes regional languages in higher education courses in the country and supports nine central universities under the “Establishment of Endangered Language Center at Central Universities” scheme.
Other initiatives by the Government of India include the Bharatavani project and the proposed creation of a Bharatiya Bhasha Vishwavidyalaya (BBV).
Recently, a Namath Basai initiative of the Kerala state government has proved very beneficial in educating children in tribal areas by adopting vernacular languages as the medium of instruction.
Google’s Navlekha Project uses technology to protect the mother tongue. The project aims to increase online content in the local languages of India.
Constitutional and related legal provisions in India
Article 29 of the Constitution (Protection of the interests of minorities) grants all citizens the right to retain their language and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of language.
Section 120 (Language to be used in Parliament) provides for the use of Hindi or English for the business of Parliament, but gives members of Parliament the right to express themselves in their mother tongue.
Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with official languages in Articles 343 to 351.
Article 350A (Facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage) establishes that it shall be the effort of each State and each local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education. for children belonging to minority language groups.
Article 350B (Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities): The President must appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters related to constitutional guarantees for linguistic minorities and to report to him.
The President must submit all such reports to Parliament and send them to the appropriate state government.
The Eighth Schedule recognizes the following 22 languages: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.
The Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009 provides that the medium of instruction, to the extent possible, shall be in the child’s native language.