International Mother Language Day is celebrated on 21 February every year. This day shall remind us about the many different languages that exist in the world. The event is used to create awareness of the importance of our home languages.
Many languages are unique to a specific country, although English is the most spoken language around the world by non-native speakers. Non-native speakers are all those who learn a language as their second or foreign language.
Languages help us communicate our ideas, insights and feelings. We also use our language to share our identity which means our cultural traditions, our customs and beliefs.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” (Nelson Mandela)
Did you know that there are over 7.000 languages spoken in the world? Though only 5% of those languages are represented on the internet! The languages most used on the internet are English, Russian and German.
Standard Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, English, Arabic and Hindi are the most spoken languages around the world but they are not represented in the same order in written text. And not all languages exist in written form at all. Some languages in Africa such as Southern Ndebele only received their first written text in recent years.
Almost half of all languages spoken in the world are endangered.
Many languages which are spoken world wide only have few mother tongue speakers and some were never written. Languages with few speakers occur largely in Oceania, southern Asia, Africa and the Amazon region in South America. In fact, one language dies out every two weeks, as the language is not used anymore.