Saturday 21 February 2015

Celebrating Linguistic Diversity

Today is UNESCO international mother language day - if you're in or near Brum the event to be at is at the Library of Birmingham.

'The United Nations' (UN) International Mother Language Day annually celebrates language diversity and variety worldwide on February 21. It also remembers events such as the killing of four students on February 21, 1952, because they campaigned to officially use their mother language, Bengali, in Bangladesh.'
Time and place

Birmingham has a long history of welcoming migrants, and indeed non-conformists running back to the 18th century and earlier.  In the late 18th century wars abroad, xenophobia, religious intolerance and a nationalist upsurge led to riots on the streets of Birmingham (the Priestley riots).  Are we entering a similar period of unrest in Birmingham and worldwide?  If so could events like IMLD and the tolerance and understanding it represents counter a fearful and destructive nationalis upsurge?

The theme for IMLD 2015 is "Inclusion in and through education: Language counts.  Its focus is on one of the main challenges that cuts across many of the goals, i.e. Inclusion (equity/quality). -

Our own Brummie, Malala has become a symbol of hope for Birmingham, and the world.  Let's hope the Library she loves (and opened) could be a beacon of hope in troubled times.


  1. I hope that Esperanto was not forgotten today. Esperanto is a planned language which belongs to no one country or group of states. Using it brings speakers of different mother tongues together without having to resort to English or a strong regional language.

    Not many people know that Esperanto has native speakers too. See:

    1. I hope no languages are missed - Esperanto, and the story of how it developed as important as any.

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