Everything you need to know for our International Mother Language Day quiz!
February 21st is
International Mother Language Day (IMLD), and the theme this year is “Indigenous languages matter for
development, peace building and reconciliation”. In order to celebrate the
event, we’ve created a short and simple quiz that will test your knowledge
When you complete the quiz, screenshot your score and email it to [email protected], and you’ll be put into a draw with the chance to win a £25 Amazon voucher! You have until 28/02/2019 to enter, and the winner will be announced on the 01/03/2019. You must be following Language Insight on Linked In to enter.
Before you give the quiz a go you
need to make sure you know your stuff. So keep reading and you’ll soon become
an IMLD expert…
The History of IMLD
IMLD is an annual event organised by UNESCO and has been taking place officially since 1999, but the roots of IMLD actually go back to Bangladesh in 1952.
In 1948, Pakistan’s government’s
decided to change the national language to Urdu, which came as a result of
Bangladesh and Pakistan being part of the same country at that time. However, East
Pakistan (that would now be classed as Bangladesh) and West Pakistan had
several cultural and linguistic differences, with the West speaking Urdu and
the East speaking Bengali.
The government at that time was
largely made up of Western Pakistanis and so they decided to change the
national language Urdu, as that was their mother tongue. However, Eastern
Pakistanis wanted to keep Bengali as their national language and many protests
against the government soon followed.
On February 21st 1952, students at
the University of Dhaka organised a protest against the government, with the
help of other activists. A few hours into the protests, the police opened fire
on demonstrators and killed 4 of the students. UNESCO therefore chose February
21st as the official date for International Mother Language Day in
remembrance of the activists who gave their lives to preserve their mother
What are the aims of IMLD?
IMLD has been an official event
since 1999, but what does the day actually aim to achieve? According to UNESCO,
International Mother Language Day works towards “preserving linguistic
diversity and promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education”.
There are approximately 7,000 languages in the world and around 2,000 of these are classified as endangered. More and more languages are becoming endangered every week as some languages are taking up huge percentages of the world’s speakers. The most widely spoken language in the world is Mandarin with over 1.2 billion speakers. With languages like Mandarin, indigenous languages are slowly being used less as there isn’t a large demand for these languages to be used in today’s modernised world compared to the likes of Mandarin and English.
This is why UNESCO are stepping in
to help preserve indigenous languages. Language is a huge part of culture and
this is why having a diverse range of languages is so important. Some countries
have a wider range of languages than others for example in London approximately
300 languages are used. Language diversity can help save knowledge, cultural
diversity, help development and promote peace there UNESCO are encouraging everyone
to become more linguistically diverse.
“Languages are the repository of thousands of years of a people’s science and art – from observations of ecological patterns to creation myths. The disappearance of a language is not only a loss for the community of speakers itself, but for our common human knowledge of mathematics, biology, geography, philosophy, agriculture, and linguistics.”
David Harrison, linguist, USA
Feeling like an International Mother Language Day expert yet? If you are then you’re ready to take our IMLD quiz.
After you’ve completed the quiz, screenshot your score and email it to [email protected], and you’ll be put into a draw with the chance to win a £25 Amazon voucher! You have until 28/02/2019 to enter, and the winner will be announced on the 01/03/2019. You must be following Language Insight on Linked In to enter.