Today is International Mother Language day

Language is deeply connected to notions of culture and identity.

So the language children are taught in, can often reflect broader societal inequalities, according to the Global Campaign for education.

This statement also falls in line with the appeal launched on this day by the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova for the potential of mutli-lingual education to be acknowledged everywhere - in education and administrative systems, in cultural expressions and the media, cyberspace and trade.

Proclaimed by General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations recognises February 21 as the International Mother Language Day.

This year’s theme has been: Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education.

It is understood that to foster sustainable development, learners must have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages.

“It is through the mastery of the first language or mother tongue that the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy are acquired. Local languages, especially minority and indigenous, transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus playing an important role in promoting sustainable futures,” UN states.

Sometimes, the term "mother tongue" or "mother language" is used for the language that a person learned as a child at home (usually from their parents). Children growing up in bilingual homes can, according to this definition, have more than one mother tongue or native language (Wikipedia).

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.

Melanesian Pidgin, Hawaiian, Polynesian languages, Tahitian, Maori, are all languages spoken throughout island nations in the South Pacific Ocean.

According to nationsonline, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages of Australia are endangered, Australia is the continent where languages are disappearing the fastest.

There are two major language groups in the Pacific islands, Papuan with about 750 languages, spoken on some of the East Indonesian islands, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. Papuan languages are considered to be quite ancient between 20- and 50,000 years.  

Gloria Bauai