February 21 is International Mother Language Day. Supporting and celebrating linguistic and cultural diversity are of the highest importance to maintain and sustain world peace and social justice. It is crucial to preserve the linguistic and cultural differences in order to make the world versatile and interesting place to live in, to help foster tolerance and respect for others – such needed qualities to have for each of us these days.
Out of 7000 world languages more than 50% are endangered . My mother tongue, Tatar language, is among potentially threatened to disappear due to several factors including the absence of the nation-state that would promote language use on governmental level. Many indigenous languages , including Tatar, face potential extinction due to deliberate reduction of minor languages instructions in public schools.
How can minor languages be preserved? On individual level, we can start by recognizing the need to secure the future of a language and be intrinsically motivated to keep it alive, either by utilizing one’s own mother tongue or by learning a new language. Want to start with Tatar?
Here is a sweet taste of it: beautiful folk song “Umyrzaya” (Early Spring Flower).
Let’s be pro-active in securing the future of languages! We need a world with many languages that are building blocks for cultures that enrich our societies and live to be vibrant, meaningful and understanding of inherent differences.