Február 21. az Anyanyelv Nemzetközi Napja / International Mother Language Day, UNESCO, 21 February 2012

2012. február 21.
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Már 2000 óta ünnepli az UNESCO az Anyanyelv Nemzetközi Napját, mely a világ minden nyelvének kíván ösztönzést adni a nyelvi sokszínűség és a többnyelvűség támogatásával. A nap alkalmából különböző cikkek találhatók a témában az UNESCO weboldalán, Irina Bokova, az UNESCO főigazgatójának üzenete pedig alább olvasható.

The International Mother Language Day has been celebrated since 2000 to promote all the languages of the world. This Day represents an effective mobilization opportunity for linguistic diversity and multilingualism. The Message from the Director-General of UNESCO is available below.

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Mother Language Day, UNESCO, 21 February 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”. The language of our thoughts and our emotions is our most valuable asset. Multilingualism is our ally in ensuring quality education for all, in promoting inclusion and in combating discrimination. Building genuine dialogue must start with respect for languages. Each representation of a better life, every development goal is expressed in a language, with specific words to bring it to life and communicate it. Languages are who we are. By protecting them, we protect ourselves.


UNESCO has celebrated International Mother Language Day for 12 years and it directs great energy to protecting linguistic diversity. This 13th celebration is dedicated to multilingualism for inclusive education. The work of researchers and the impact of multilingualism policies have shown that people perceive intuitively that linguistic diversity accelerates work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All goals in particular. Use of the mother tongue at school is a powerful remedy against illiteracy. The challenge remains, however, to ensure this truth is actually acted on in the classroom. Excluded population groups, such as indigenous peoples, are often those whose mother tongues are ignored by education systems. Allowing them to learn from a very early age in their mother tongue, and then in national, official or other languages, promotes equality and social inclusion.


UNESCO Mobile Learning Week has shown that use of mobile technologies in education is an excellent means to boost inclusive education. Combined with multilingualism, these technologies increase tenfold our scope for action. Our generation has the advantage of having new communication media and a new Internet-based worldwide public arena –- we should not accept any impoverishment of languages.


Linguistic diversity is our common heritage, and it is fragile. Nearly half of the more than 6,000 languages spoken in the world could die out by the end of the century. UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger provides a map to understand this struggle. Language loss impoverishes humanity. It is a retreat in the defence of everyone’s rights to be heard, to learn and to communicate. Each language conveys cultural heritage in way that increase our creative diversity. Cultural diversity is as important as biological diversity in nature, and they are closely linked. The languages of some indigenous peoples carry unique knowledge on biodiversity and management of ecosystems. This linguistic potential is an asset for sustainable development and must be shared for the benefit of all. UNESCO will bring this message also to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio.


The vitality of languages depends on all those who speak them and rally round to protect them. UNESCO pays tribute to them and works to ensure that their voices are heard when education, development and social cohesion policies are being formulated. Multilingualism is a living resource -- let us use it for the benefit of all.