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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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International Mother Language Day

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Mentioning that one of the world's languages disappears in every two weeks, the Unesco has urged all countries to promote multilingualism to help stop this programmed extinction.

"Every two weeks, one of the world's languages disappears, and with it goes part of our human history and cultural heritage. Promoting multilingualism also helps to stop this programmed extinction," said Unesco Director General Audrey Azoulay said in a message on International Mother Language Day on Wednesday.

"A language is far more than a means of communication; it is the very condition of our humanity," Azoulay said adding, "Our values, our beliefs and our identity are embedded within it. It is through language that we transmit our experiences, our traditions and our knowledge. The diversity of languages reflects the incontestable wealth of our imaginations and ways of life."

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has marked the 19th International Mother Language Day with the reiteration of its commitment to defend and promote languages across the world.

On the occasion of the International Mother Language Day 2018, Unesco invites its member states to celebrate the day, through a variety of educational and cultural initiatives, the linguistic diversity and multilingualism that make up the living wealth of our world.

"In order to preserve and vitalise this essential component of the intangible heritage of humanity, Unesco has been actively engaged for many years in the defence of linguistic diversity and the promotion of multilingual education."

"This commitment concerns mother languages in particular, which shape millions of developing young minds, and are the indispensable vector for inclusion in the human community, first at the local level, then at the global level."

She also said that Unesco supports language policies, particularly in multilingual countries, which promote mother languages and indigenous languages.

Unesco recommends the use of these languages from the first years of schooling, because children learn best in their mother language.

The organisation also encourages their use in public spaces and especially on the Internet, where multilingualism should become the rule.

"Everyone, regardless of their first language, should be able to access resources in cyberspace and build online communities of exchange and dialogue. Today, this is one of the major challenges of sustainable development, at the heart of the United Nations 2030 Agenda,"Azoulay said.

 

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