International Mother Language Day is an annual celebration that was proclaimed by UNESCO’s General Conference in November 1999. The International Day has been observed every year since February 2000 promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
Tamazight language matters!
Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
Among the list of recommendations made to the Member States by the declartion of this International day one reads:
(a) create the conditions for a social, intellectual and media environment of an international character which is conducive to linguistic pluralism;
(b) promote, through multilingual education, democratic access to knowledge for all citizens, whatever their mother tongue, and build linguistic pluralism; strategies to achieve these goals could include (read more)
The 21st of February is celebrated as World Mother Tongue Day. The UNESCO, which hopes to make people conscious of the importance of the mother tongue, declares in its latest publication Education in a Multilingual World (2003), that the most suitable language for teaching basic concepts to children is the mother tongue. Indeed, the UNESCO declared this as early as 1953 in its report The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education. Yet, as the world modernized, the smaller and weaker mother tongues started dying. The schooling system, the media and the jobs all demanded the languages of power – the languages used in the domains of power i.e. administration, government, military, commerce, education, media etc. – which had to be learned by people in their own interest. As globalisation increases, languages die.
The 21st of February reminds us that, despite this inequality of power between our mother tongues and the languages of power, we must not give up hope. We must be conscious of the significance of our mother tongues, which give us identity; which are repositories of culture and which, in the final analysis, make us what we are.