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Mother Language Day

Post by on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

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February 21 is celebrated as International Mother Language Day, a date dedicated to linguistic diversity by United Nations. This day also aims to encourage multilingualism and linguistic and cultural diversity around the world. The day is also celebrated to commemorate killing of four Bangladeshis in 1952, who fought for granting Bengali language the official mother language status in their country. According to UNSECO, ‘Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear and globally 40 per cent of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand.’ Mother language or mother tongue is not only important for linguistic diversity but also to uphold and carry forward the cultural and historical legacies. In Kashmir, the influence of mother language is slowly waning, a fact that is reckoned by people as well as litterateurs. The failure has disappointed people form all walks of life. As has been observed, many supporters who give tongue to saving Kashmiri language are very vocal in seminars, functions and cultural programs that are held less frequently. Many experts believe that instead of a bottom-up approach if the change follows a top-down order the patronage to mother language would be fruitful. Unfortunately, there are not enough avenues to help preserve and enrich our mother languages. Some academic circles have been pushing for their preservation, but overall literary work in Kashmiri is on decline compared to the contributions made in other languages. Younger generations are disposed to learning and producing literature in English and other foreign languages. Spoken language that is Kashmiri has been reduced to small-sized vocabulary. Beautiful expressions have been lost as the mother language is subjected to unabated adulteration and replacement of these expressions. With few avenues the cause to save the language is going to be a difficult one in future. From homes to schools to academies, the available resources are simply not enough. The cultural environment is also changing as there is better acceptability to foreign languages owing to their advantageous position in vocations. Trades and jobs continue to favor foreign languages, sometimes put as an eligibility criterion. Technology has made it worse as there is no regional language support in new communication models which forces people to learn and get used to foreign languages, for example English language. Therefore comprehensive plans and strategies are needed in addition to the support of the people, to prevent our mother language from dying.                                               

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