Sunday, 17 February 2008

Preparing for international mother tongue day

Launching of the International Year of Languages in the framework of the International Mother Language Day
© UNESCO/Maro Haas
Thursday 21 February is International Mother Language Day, it's also the day when UNESCO launches 2008 as International year of languages. The February edition of the UNESCO courier has some fascinating articles about the saga of the Ainu language in northern Japan, or the secret Machaj Juyai-Kallawaya language. The herbalists who speak that language propagate traditional healing knowledge.
Thanks to Don Osborn's comment on my earlier post about the International Year of Languages I've discovered an amazing amount of extraordinary work linking mother languages to sustainable and long term development work and also to a whole host of other issues. I'll try to blog a bit more about them over the days ahead.
Meanwhile Don has posted a list of ideas and links about the year of languages here.
He's also involved in a project called Bisharat about which more another day.
Anyway what's your mother language? I have a mother tongue (English) and what I sometimes refer to as a father tongue (German) which I didn't really learn properly until I was 18. I also have an adopted tongue, French which I was fairly fluent in by the time I was 12. I'm happiest swearing and counting in English, praying in French and telling my husband off and drinking beer in German!

1 Comment:

Don said...

Hi Jane, thanks for the comments and the shout-out.

I asked a question on LinkedIn about the value people placed on their mother tongue, and some of the more interesting responses were indeed ones relating to bilingual or multilingual identities.

Anyway, the Day is upon us and the stage of preparing for it and the Year is now over. There is a lot that can and should be done in the context of the Year. It really is helpful that the UN set it up, but up to us to make something of the opportunity & context.

So yes, let's stay in touch about it.