According to Ethnologue, there are 7,117 languages that are spoken today. Language is much more than just communicating with a person; it’s a way of connecting on an emotional level. You may have heard this famous Nelson Mandela quote: “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.”
On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, let us ask this question: “How should we recognize the impact of languages on our lives?”
After giving this some thought, here’s what I came up with: Make language a part of your life. In present times, multilingual and multicultural societies are seen everywhere. These societies act as the center of preserving the culture and traditional knowledge which can and should be used in the future. So, each month, why not have a day dedicated to celebrating language. How, you ask?
- Read different language books. Learn new words, and with audio books you can hear the correct pronunciations.
- Try out translator apps. Find them on your phone and check out what simple, everyday words mean in a different language.
- Now that you’ve heard it spoken and read a few words, learn to speak that language with apps like Babbel or Duolingo.
- Explore Mother Tongue Festivals. Countries around the world have festivals dedicated to diversities. These festivals are not just celebrating languages, but they are a way of enabling people to find commonalities through the verbal expressions of their homeland.
- Connect with other multilingual families. Sharing experiences and time with families who speak the same language creates a space where learning happens with interesting and educational activities. These groups can also provide tools to parents to support their child’s linguistic development.
International Mother Language Day can be a time to reflect on your relationship with your own language and may just touch the heartstrings of your loved ones.
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