Friday, February 20, 2015

Intenational Mother Language Day : Languages matter !






International Mother Language Day 2015 | Unesco

The focus for the post - 2015 agenda must fall on the priority of advancing quality education for all -- widening access, ensuring equality and inclusiveness, and promoting education for global citizenship and sustainable development. Education in the m other language is an essential part of achieving these goals -- to facilitate learning and to bolster skills in reading, writing and mathematics. "


Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General

Each year on 21 February, UNESCO invites people to recognize and celebrate mother languages on International Mother Language Day (IMLD). 



International Mother Language Day 2015 | Unesco


So, tomorrow, we are celebrating IMDL 2015And the theme for 2015 is:



“Inclusive Education through and with Language - Languages matter.” 

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

2015 marks the 15th anniversary of International Mother Language Day. This is is also a turning point year, as the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.

"The focus for the post-2015 agenda must fall on the priority of advancing quality education for all - widening access, ensuring equality and inclusiveness, and promoting education for global citizenship and sustainable development."

Education in the mother language is an essential part of achieving these goals, to facilitate learning and to bolster skills in reading, writing and mathematics

It requires a sharper focus on:
  • Teaching training 
  • Revisions of academic programmes 
  • Creation of suitable learning environments.


Mother Language Day Infographic
Since 2000, there has been tremendous progress to reach the goals of Education for All. 

International Mother Language Day is a moment for all of us to raise the flag for the importance of mother tongue to all educational efforts, to enhance the quality of learning and to reach the unreached. 

Every girl and boy, every woman and man must have the tools to participate fully in the lives of their societies – this is a basic human right and it is a force for the sustainability of all development.




There are approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world and approximately half of them are at least vulnerable of becoming critically endangered, if not extinct. 
The two foremost reasons why languages die are:
  • People in small communities who choose to learn and speak a more widely-used language ultimately replace their native language.
  • A language is imposed on them by government.
Some information:

Most linguists predict that by the year 2100, 90 percent of the world's languages would become extinct. In a largely globalized world, this reality is apparent, especially with the dominance of English at all levels of life. 


Languages become endangered for many reasons, starting from colonisation, wars, and genocide to globalisation. 

Languages are considered to be endangered when the number of speakers or the number of people claiming it as their own deplete and also when it loses relevance and prominence in the social and cultural spheres.

Languages education counts


Today, ½ of the world’s 6700 languages are in danger of disappearing. About 96% are spoken by only 4% of the world population. Language loss impoverishes humanity. It’s a blow to everyone’s rights to be heard, to learn & communicate

For UNESCO, “appropriate language education” is fundamental to enable learners to benefit from quality education, learn throughout life, and have access to information.  

This is possible if there is an approach to language education that promotes the use of at least three languages: one of which should be a mother tongue or first language.
Language education can also be seen as a means to ensure that, down the road, learners participate as global citizens, acting for change at both the local and global levels.





Languages count for Education

Language education also offers a framework for transmitting values and knowledge that strengthen a sense of belonging to both local and global communities, which are the starting point of civic engagement
But much remains to be done to make sure language education does generate such returns. 

"During the celebration of Mother Language Day 2015, we will review the challenges to the implementation of “appropriate language education” and highlight examples of good practices  in this area, which can inspire Member States and partners to support its development and use."

UN



Some thoughts:

A language lives through the people who speak it. Therefore, teaching kids their inherited language is the best thing to do to keep that language alive. 


Reviving a language is possible: the Mirandês - Mirandese languageis a Romance language, sparsely spoken in a small area of northeastern Portugal was on the verge of exctintion (only a few speakers), now being taught in schools.

Same to the Yurok language, one of the 90 languages of California, which was on the verge of extinction, is now being taught in schools.


When we lose a language, we lose a cultural heritage, the special ways different people express their relationships, their families, and the world that they see.

Language acquisition and mother tongue literacy should ideally be supported by written resources such as - but not limited to - books, primers and textbooks, to support oral activities. Written materials in mother tongues reinforce learners’ literacy acquisition and build strong foundations for learning.

Technolgy is allowing many languages to increase audience by establishing a presence on YouTube, social networks as Facebook, Twitter or mobile phones by texting.

Activities: 

  • Propose to your students to tweet in their mother Language on February 21 about why it's imprtant to use their native language. Of course you must prepare the tweets before being published on Twitter;
  • Follow that tweet with a translation so that more people following along can read their message;
  • Add a hashtag to their tweet, for example #(the name of the language they are writing in).
  • Follow along the hashtag,#imld15 to see messages from around the world in different languages and retweet some of them (foreign languages they are learning) to help amplify the messages.
  • Wherever in the world you may be, and whatever language you speak, ask your students to record and share with a school from another country, different language, a video of they saying a particular phrase in their native tongue. And asking to foreign schoolmates to do the same for a linguistic exchange.



Google Translate

Resource:


Google Translate is celebrating International Mother Language Day worldwide! 

Google is the first company to bring this important day to celebrate in a meaningful way to improve your language.

Finally the dream come true! Visit translate.google.com to check it out! 

"International Mother Language Day is a moment for all of us to raise the flag for the importance of mother tongue to all educational efforts, to enhance the quality of learning and to reach the unreached. Every girl and boy, every woman and man must have the tools to participate fully in the lives of their societies – this is a basic human right and it is a force for the sustainability of all development."

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General 


G-Souto

20.02.2015
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