The progression of language learning is key to promoting cultural awareness, diversity, equality and inclusion.
To these ends, it’s important for educators – especially languages educators – to continue upholding and spreading the word about International Mother Language Day every 21st February.
This anniversary is rooted in tragedy and injustice. But it’s a story that needs to be told and passed on from generation to generation.
We’d love to share with you the story of the ‘language martyrs’ who inspired International Mother Language Day if you’re unfamiliar with it.
The History of International Mother Language Day
On 21st February 1952, a group of students at Dhaka University in Bangladesh were protesting against the Urdu-only language policy imposed by the Pakistani government. The students were dismayed about the unfairness of the policy, which excluded students who didn’t speak Urdu from the education system.
Despite it being a peaceful protest, the police opened fire on the students.
News of the shootings spread fast and thousands of people joined the protest the following day. They came to support the cause and also to pray for the students whose lives had been lost needlessly. Shockingly, the police opened fire again and more innocent people were shot dead.
The death toll remains unknown for sure, with historians estimating it anywhere between 8-26.
Days Of the Year recalls a Nelson Mandela quote in relation to International Mother Language Day –
“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.”
His sentiment is wholeheartedly echoed at La Academia. We take enormous pride in offering representation of all languages, no matter how lesser known or uncommonly used they are. After all, every language is somebody’s mother language, and everybody deserves to be heard, no matter what language they’re talking in.