International Mother Language Day 2024: Ways to Celebrate, Facts and Significance

International Mother Language Day, celebrated annually on February 21, originated from the Bangla language movement in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, aiming to protect and preserve the Bangla language's heritage.

International Mother Language Day 2024:  International Mother Language Day, celebrated annually on February 21, has its roots in the Bangla language movement of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. This movement aimed to protect the Bangla language, which is widely spoken in Bangladesh. It also emphasizes the importance of preserving the heritage and survival of all languages worldwide.

International Mother Language Day: History

The history of International Mother Language Day dates back to 2000, when UNESCO declared it, with formal recognition by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002 (U.N. resolution 56/262). Bangladesh played a pivotal role, commemorating February 21 as the day of its language recognition struggle since the country’s formation in 1947.

The proposal for Bangla as a national language alongside Urdu was first made in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in 1948 by Dhirendranath Datta from East Pakistan. Despite government suppression of demonstrations, public support for Bangla language recognition persisted, culminating in significant rallies and gatherings, including tragic incidents like police firing on demonstrators.

After decades, Bangladesh officially proposed the observance of International Mother Language Day, leading to its global recognition by UNESCO in 1999. This day honors the sacrifices of those who died on February 21, 1952.

Bangladeshis commemorate the day by mourning at the Shaheed Minar memorial or its replicas.

FAQs about International Mother Language Day

Earliest Known Language:

Sanskrit, also known as Devbrata, is considered the oldest language, serving as a model for many European languages.

Most Challenging Language:

Languages like Finnish, Polish, Mandarin, Icelandic, Japanese, Hungarian, Korean, and Arabic are known for their difficulty.

Most Complex Grammar:

Hungarian and Finnish are renowned for their intricate grammatical structures.

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How to Celebrate International Mother Language Day:

  •  Enroll in a language course or teach one.
  •  Use your native tongue, especially within your family.
  •  Share your linguistic expertise by teaching a friend or family member a foreign language.

Five Linguistic Facts about Mother Tongues:

1. Indian Languages:

Indian languages belong to various linguistic families.

2. Diverse Dialects:

Approximately 7,000 languages are spoken globally.

3. Papua New Guinea:

It hosts the highest number of languages globally, around 840.

4. Endangered Languages:

About 2,400 languages are at risk of extinction.

5. English Vocabulary:

English boasts the largest vocabulary, with over 250,000 words.

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Significance of International Mother Language Day:

  •  Promotes cultural diversity and understanding.
  •  Encourages language learning and multilingualism.
  •  Raises awareness about endangered languages and their preservation.



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