Today is International Mother Language Day

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From 2000 February UN promotes linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism on International Mother Language Day.

While among many related issues UNESCO focuses this year on the efforts towards a multilingual internet, it is also important to draw attention to the importance of multilingual education, teaching children  to understand what might not be provided to them in their mother language.

I for one cannot imagine my life without the ability to speak and understand other languages besides my mother tongue. One of those other languages being English, the most widely used language of the world surely has quite a lot of advantages too.

Although I live in Hungary, a huge portion of my life is in English. I enhance my professional life in English, I read in English, I watch TV and movies in English, I communicate with many of my friends in English, I write and blog in English. I cannot even begin to think about how much of what I experience today would be simply locked away from me should I be unable to understand the language. 

And in my mind this picture of the most of the world being locked away from people who don’t understand it is quite vivid. I just have to think about the number of things I never would have heard of, the number of people I never would have known, all the stuff that would not be available for me. While I truly feel that for me speaking languages is more like a necessity than anything else, I experience every day what it is like to not being able to share things with people due to linguistic boundaries.

Recent statistics regarding multilingualism place Hungary at the tail end of the 27 EU member states with even the second worst results being much better than ours. According to these statistics 75% of Hungarian people cannot speak any foreign language whatsoever.

Even among my friends and family from time to time I find some with whom I am just unable to share this – quite major – part of my world, no matter how much I want. There may be memorable quotes I cite but cannot be proplerly translated to Hungarian, so they don’t get them. There may be song lyrics I worship like poetry and they don’t even know what I am talking about. There may be a huge number of worth-to-read articles I would want to share but no-one reads them, because they can’t. And then there are those rather annoying occasions when something becomes news in Hungarian days, sometimes weeks after I read it in English. And I am like “really?! that is "news” in Hungary now?“ But they don’t understand. It’s like we didn’t speak the same language. Literally.

And then there it is, my blog, where I share my thoughts in English and many of my friends can’t understand.

Now, I think I am done emphasizing how serious and passionate I am about language learning and multilingual education, so let’s continue on a much lighter note! Watch out for the next post with fun and inspiring facts about language learning!

In the meantime you can also click on the image above to learn more about International Mother Language Day!

Author: admin

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