Blog Theme for International Mother Language Day

This list of blog themes are only ideas to encourage discussion and reflection. However, these should not be limited to new themes and it is encouraged to post under freedom of expression. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

  1. For speakers who grew up inside and/or outside the United States, how easy is it to readily express yourself in English or in your mother language?
  2. What images does your mother language evoke (e.g. stories, tales, traditions, art, music, etc…)?
  3. What is hard to express in another language (such as English, Spanish, etc…) apart from your mother language?
  4. More than half of the world’s languages will no longer exist by the end of the century, unless something changes…
    1. What happens when the world loses a language?
    2. What should be done to prevent language extinction and endangerment?
  5. Reflect on what gives your mother languages so much personal value (culture, history, heritage, etc…).
  6. How are mother languages maintained? Is it through cultural practices, such as dance or storytelling? Schools or universities? Combination of an inter-woven system of communication?
  7. Explain the importance of open dialogue in understanding the culturally diverse and multi-lingual society? What is the role of languages in building intercultural dialogue?
  8. How can East Carolina University improve in the promotion of linguistic diversity?
  9. What role should mother language instruction have in primary education?
  10. Of the languages that are spoken in the world, the most significant for our early emotional and cognitive development is that through which we first learn to name our personal universe and by means of which we begin to achieve a common understanding with our parents and the broader community of friends and school. It is the language of childhood, of intimate family experience and of our early social relations.’
    1. Do you agree with this?
    2. It what ways cant you relate to this quote?
  11. It is often promoted in countries around the world to acquire at least three levels or more of language for all: a mother tongue, a national language, and a language of communication.
    1. What is your opinion of this practice?
    2. How could this practice be implemented in the United States (or other countries where it is not often seen)?

Role of Invasive languages

Think about what roles invasive languages, such as English and Spanish, play in language endangerment.
Nobel Laureate Mr Hallór Laxness
‘the world becomes a poorer place whenever an international language swallows up a smaller one, but the international language
becomes no richer for doing so’ and qualified
languages as ‘humanity’s most precious and fragile treasures.’

Endangered languages

According to UNESCO’s estimates, half of 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century. The risk of extinction for unwritten and undocumented languages carries catastrophic implications, affecting the entire history of cultural and ancestral knowledge.

However, this outcome is both preventable and irreversible. With effective language protection and preservation measures,  speaker communities are directly supported and mother tongues are therefore maintained and passed on from generation to generation.

The aim of UNESCO’s Endangered Languages Programme is to support communities, experts and governments by producing, coordinating and  disseminating : tools for monitoring, advocacy, and assessment of status and trends in linguistic diversity, services such as policy advice, technical expertise and training, good practices and a platform for exchange and transfer of skills.

UNESCO Atlas of the World\’s Languages in Danger