Monday, February 20, 2012

Mother Language Day 2012

Nelson Mandela once said that "if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart". Thus, Irina Bokova, Director-General of Unesco, begins her message (links to PDFs in the official languages of the UN) for this year's International Mother Language Day (IMLD), celebrated on 21 February every year.

The theme for IMLD 2012 is "Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education". Prominent in this year's celebration is the crucial role mother-tongues play in the right to education.

Among the interesting resources on the Unesco page are an article "Nisha's right" from The Kathmandu Post; an interview with Colette Grinevald: "Speaking your mother tongue is not a disability!"; as well as the following brief podcasts from SOAS radio (a resource well worth bookmarking):
  • in English: Peter Austin on "Bangladesh, Australia and the importance of Mother Language Education"
  • in Russian: Elena Giniotyte on "Archi, an Endangered Language in the Caucasus"
  • in Mandarin: Lianhong Yo on "Language and Nation Building in Singapore"
  • in Arabic: Samah Bushra Yousef on "Bilingual Education in Burkina Faso"
  • in Portuguese: Helena De Moraes Achca on "Bilingual Education in Bolivia"

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