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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday-Mother Language Day



Today is International Mother Language Day. From the UNESCO website:

In 1999, UNESCO decided to launch an International Mother Language Day (IMLD) to be observed throughout the world each year on 21 February. This celebration is designed to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education, to highlight greater awareness of the importance of mother tongue education.

Here is a sampling of sources:

UNESCO International Mother Language Day website

The Language Conservancy, which "supports and helps design programs that are community-led and grassroots-driven, sourced and responsive to the speakers and learners of endangered languages anywhere in the world."

Rising Voices: Hótȟaŋiŋpi, a joint project about the revitalization of the Lakota language by Florentine films and the Language Conservancy. You can see a trailer and find monthly book lists. “Hótȟaŋiŋpi” is the Lakota word meaning they will have their say.

Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project
"Through the processes of religious conversion, laws against the use of the language, mainstream education, and commerce, the Wampanoag language ceased to be spoken around the time period of the mid 19th century. There were no fluent speakers of the language for six generations; over 150 years.

The Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project began in 1993 under the direction of Jessie 'little doe' Baird who earned a Masters Degree in Algonquian Linguistics from MIT in 2000. Through the joint collaborative efforts of members of The Assonet Band of Wampanoag, The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah and the Herring Pond Barnd of Wampanoag, the project aims to return fluency to the Wampanoag Nation as a principal means of expression."


Jessie 'little doe' Baird was a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. Here is a video from the MacArthur Foundation:



Our Mother Tongues: Discover America's First Languages with a language map and videos of native speakers

A post of mine about Laura Martin's artist's book In Memory of Mocho about the Mayan language of Mocho

1 comment:

Irene Egan said...

Oh my, this makes me very sad that I never learned (was taught) Slovak - all my grandparents were from Slovakia, but "We're Americans - we speak English" was important at that time - there was such a "shame" about "having an accent." So... I had very little communication with my own grandmother. I hope that today, langauges are valued and preserved! Thank you for this post, Susan.

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