International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day2008 is the International Year of Languages. UNESCO is launching an invitation to celebrate the diversity of languages, under the slogan “Languages matter!”.

On 21st of February the World celebrates the International Mother Language Day, a great opportunity to think about the “recognition of linguistic diversity and the importance of multilingual education”.

Speaking for myself, I’ve never heard of this holiday until now. A quick google on Romanian pages shows me that I’m not the only one: only 4 results for “ziua internationala a limbilor materne” and 10 results for 2008 “anul international al limbilor”.

We have a new holiday here! What shall we do with it? Well, I thing this is a good opportunity to:

  1. Find out who, from your friends and colleagues, has a different mother language than you. Talk to them and find out more about their birth places.
  2. Romania has 9 historical regions: spend your summer holiday discovering one of them. Talk to the local people (especially the old people) and pick-up interesting or funny expressions.
  3. Keep a diary or blog with all the new idioms you hear from dialects and their meaning. Many Romanian dialects have unique expressions that you’ve never heard of; learn them and use them in your conversations – I’m sure you’ll draw positive attention on you.
  4. If you have children or nephews, talk to them about linguistic and cultural diversity; teach them a little bit of a different mother language than theirs. They’ll be thrilled to show off their new vocabulary.

How are you going to celebrate this international year of languages? What interesting events are taking place in your community?


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