Today is designated International Mother Language Day by UNESCO.

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From the UNESCO IMLD site: International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

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.

How you can participate

Here is how you can help:

On Friday, 21st February, tweet in your mother language about why it’s important to use your native tongue.

  • Follow that tweet with a translation so that more people following along can read your message.
  • Add the following hashtags to your tweet:
  • #imld14 (International Mother Language Day 2014)
  • #(the name of the language you are writing in). For example, #cherokee #bambara #xhosa
  • Follow along the hashtag, #imld14, to see messages from around the world and retweet to help amplify their message.

Below, you can follow the discussions happening on Twitter as marked by the hashtag #imld14: