International Mother Language Day
21 February 2004
The International Mother Language Day, proclaimed by UNESCO's General Conference in November 1999, is being observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
International Mother Language Day 2004
“Everyone loses if one language is lost because then a nation and culture lose their memory, and so does the complex tapestry from which the world is woven and which makes the world an exciting place.” Vigdis Finnbogadottir, UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Languages, Former President ofIceland
- Half of the world’s 6000 to 7000 languages are in danger of extinction.
- International Mother Language Day, celebrated annually on February 21, aims to promote the recognition and practice of the world’s mother tongues, particularly minority ones.
- UNESCO member states are helping to protect and revitalize our rich cultural diversity by promoting languages as a means of communication, interaction and understanding among different peoples.
- The Organization will continue to promote multilingualism through its educational and cultural programs to protect the world’s oral and intangible heritage.