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International Mother Language Day: Why mother tongue is the soul of life – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Today is International Mother Language Day. This day is observed every year on February 21 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

International Mother Language Day recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals focus on leaving no one behind.

Learning more languages is useful as it offers more windows to the world besides enabling cross cultural understanding, peace and harmony. However, it can’t be achieved without a strong foundation in one’s own first language. Mother tongue is the soul of life.

About 200 Indian languages are facing extinction and the UNO has expressed concern over one world language becoming extinct every two weeks.

Mother tongue is the underlying component of one’s culture and identity and every effort should be made to protect the linguistic diversity of Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said on Saturday.

In his message on the eve of International Mother Language Day, Abdullah said the mother tongue must be the medium of instruction in schools, especially at the formative stages.

Ahead of the International Mother Language Day, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu wrote to members of Parliament urging them to contribute towards the promotion of Indian languages.

He described the first learned and spoken mother tongue as the ‘soul of life’ and made a passionate appeal to all MPs in a three-page letter.

The Rajya Sabha chairman elaborated on the importance of strong foundational skills in the first language in the initial years of informal learning at home, where education begins.

Elaborating on the consequence of neglecting native languages, Naidu said that it results in the loss of knowledge accumulated over time in respective cultures, of which languages are a manifestation.

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