Monday, March 1, 2010

Preserving languages vital to world

More than 10 years ago, I first wrote a viewpoint in The StarPhoenix about the importance of mother languages and the dangers and consequence of losing them. The article also was on how one language became instrumental in securing a linguistic, cultural, economic and political sovereignty in the world. That language is known as Bengali to the western world and as Bangla in Bangladesh and West Bengal.

I am not a linguist, but the importance of language and the sacrifice of the Bangla speaking people quietly stirs my blood as Sunday fast approaches. On that day, Feb. 21, 1952, several young people sacrificed their lives on the streets of Bangladesh to protect their language (Bangla).

In 1999, UNESCO proclaimed this day as the International Mother Language Day.

The UN agency recognizes that nearly 90 per cent of 7,000 living languages in the world are likely to vanish by the end of the century, resulting in a loss of a wealth of culture and wisdom. For many reasons, including the current tensions in various parts of the world, UNESCO's recent attempts to promote the importance of multilingualism, learning of world literature through translations as a way to promote peace and dialogue among cultures are clearly important.

Full report here Star Phoenix

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