February 21 is promoted by UNESCO as International Mother Language Day. The day was first proclaimed in 1952 as “Language Movement Day” by Dhaka University students in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) who were protesting suppression of their Bengali language. Police and military forces opened fire, killing many young people in attendance. Let’s not forget that it is still very difficult for lots of people in the world to get an education in their mother tongue.
The theme for 2013 is “The Book”, with the idea to read books, poems, etc. in your local language or a lesser resourced language “somewhere in public”, if possible, to make people aware of the status of many lesser resourced languages or local languages in the world.
If you don’t want to read in public, you can also do it at home. Read a book today in your mother language, listen to a podcast, write a letter, or dance to some music. And remember to share your love of language with your kids.