February 21st each year since 2000 observes International Mother language day. Language is one of the most fundamental aspects of human communication and is essential for conveying thoughts, emotions, and ideas. Every culture has its unique language, and speaking the mother tongue is an integral part of our identity. The mother tongue refers to the language we learn from our parents and the community we grow up in. Our mother tongue is the first and most crucial language we learn. It shapes the way we think, communicate, and perceive the world around us. It provides us with a unique perspective on the world, and it helps us to make sense of our experiences. By speaking our mother tongue, we are able to express ourselves fully and engage in more meaningful conversations with others who share our language.
Why is mother language important?
In today’s world, many people speak multiple languages, but the importance of the mother tongue should not be underestimated. Globalization and technological advancements are rapidly changing the way we communicate, it is therefore more critical than ever to preserve our mother languages. Many indigenous languages are at risk of disappearing due to globalization and migration. According to UN At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.
By preserving our mother languages, we can help to preserve the cultural diversity of the world and prevent the loss of valuable knowledge and traditions. In addition to providing a deeper understanding of our own identity and culture, mother languages are also essential for understanding and appreciating other cultures. Learning a new language allows us to connect with people from different backgrounds, and it opens up new opportunities for personal and professional growth. Language is a tool not just for communication but a vehicle for culture and heritage.
Here are some reasons why speaking the mother tongue is important:
- Preserving cultural heritage: Language is an integral part of a culture and is passed down through generations. The mother tongue is a connection to our cultural roots and can help to preserve customs, traditions, and beliefs. It is a way to honor our ancestors and keep their legacies alive.
- Improved cognitive abilities: Research has shown that learning a second language can improve cognitive abilities, but it is essential to have a strong foundation in the mother tongue. Studies have found that being bilingual or multilingual can enhance problem-solving skills, memory, and creativity.
- Communication with family and community: The mother tongue is the primary language used in communication with family and community. It is the language in which we express our emotions, share our stories, and connect with those around us. Speaking the mother tongue enables us to communicate more effectively and form closer relationships.
- Better academic performance: Children who speak their mother tongue at home tend to perform better academically. They have a better understanding of the language and are better able to express themselves, which can lead to improved academic performance across all subjects.
- Improved self-esteem: Speaking the mother tongue can improve self-esteem and confidence. It is an essential aspect of our identity, and being able to communicate effectively in our mother tongue can give us a sense of pride and belonging.
Losing one’s mother tongue can have profound personal and social consequences. Language loss can cause a sense of identity loss and confusion, particularly for those who have migrated to a new country or culture. The inability to communicate effectively with family and community members can cause feelings of isolation and alienation. Losing one’s mother tongue can also result in the loss of cultural heritage and the erosion of traditional knowledge and values.
In addition, language loss can have significant economic consequences. Many indigenous communities rely on their unique languages to preserve and pass on traditional knowledge of the environment, such as farming practices and medicinal properties of plants. The loss of language can result in a loss of this valuable knowledge and can negatively impact the local economy and natural environment.
In the digital age, language loss can also lead to social exclusion and reduced access to information and resources. As more and more information is transmitted through digital platforms, those who do not speak the dominant language of these platforms may be excluded from accessing this information.
Therefore, it is essential to promote and preserve linguistic diversity and protect endangered languages. Governments, communities, and individuals can take various actions to preserve endangered languages, including supporting language immersion programs, creating language documentation projects, and providing access to technology that supports the use of endangered languages.
In conclusion, our mother language is an essential part of our identity, culture, and heritage. It provides us with a unique perspective on the world and enables us to connect with others who share our language. By preserving and promoting our mother languages, we can help to ensure that future generations have access to this rich and valuable resource. International Mother Language Day serves as a reminder of the importance of mother languages and encourages us to celebrate and promote linguistic diversity.