There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all

If you talk to someone in a language he or she understands, that goes to the person’s head. If you talk to somebody in his or her language, that goes to the heart. This is a famous quote by the late Nelson Mandela who was expressing the art and significance of language.

February 21st 2015 is International Mother Language day. On this day we are encouraged to preserve and keep our heritage alive by exercising our mother tongue. It is also a day where we are encouraged to speak another language. In other words, International Mother Language day is aimed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity as well as multilingualism.

Mother Language which is also known as ones Mother Tongue describes the language in which a person has learned from birth (or consequently within the critical period) it can also be used to describe the language that a person speaks best. It also becomes part of one’s identity.

This day which seeks to celebrate languages, was established in 1999 by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The day has been commemorated in all corners of the globe since February 2000

As part of primary and secondary education (in most parts of the world), we are encouraged to learn a second or even third language for example, I learnt German and French (other schools at the time gave Italian, Spanish, Latin and various other languages as options). If you had the privilege of learning another language in school or if you have a general interest in another language, February 21st 2015 would be a great day to practice.

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