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International Mother Language Day

What does a macho entrepreneur, wearing a rucksack while singing karaoke have to do with International Mother Language Day?

You may not have noticed, but many words in English derive from foreign languages. Can you guess which countries the words above are drawn from?

We have adopted various words through cultural exchange across hundreds of years. This has allowed for linguistic diversity and multilinguistic education. It also has helped us to foster solidarity, understanding and tolerance of linguistic and cultural traditions.

Understanding and recognising that there is a vast range of language variation is vital to helping those in vulnerable places. The Rohingya, who have become refugees in Bangladesh, do not have their language in written form, only verbal. Therefore, All We Can and its trusted humanitarian aid partners in the region adapt the ways we communicate in order to create relationships with the Rohingya people. For example, in the Rohingya culture there are often community appointed elders called Magi who share new information by word-of-mouth, therefore working with these community leaders is really important when making sure messages have been understood.

43% of the world’s languages are endangered. Globalisation has become a threat to cultural diversity. 40% of the world does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. More so, less than 100 languages are used in the digital world.

UNESCO explains that International Mother Language Day aims to promote and preserve linguistic and cultural diversity for sustainable societies. Recognising that it promotes peace by preserving differences in cultures but also allows tolerance and respect for others.

Join All We Can and others all across the world who are celebrating International Mother Language Day. Visit allwecan.org.uk/what-we-do to see the different countries we work in. Consider the range of linguistics and cultural practices that each country has and reflect on how the human race can come together to ensure all cultures are valued, rather than diminished.

Visit our social media pages today to have a go at translating the messages from various staff members to celebrate International Mother Language Day.

About the Author Zoe Carruthers

As part of a year-long internship with the One Programme, Zoe Carruthers is working for All We Can as its Communications Officer. Zoe studied International Development and Media at the University of East Anglia and is passionate about social justice and womens' rights. Zoe is from Northern Ireland and is keen for others to discover what a beautiful place it is.

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