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21.02.2024

Linguistic diversity in the spotlight: how the International Mother Tongue Day is celebrated in SFedU

21.02.2024

On February 21, the Southern Federal University will host the annual celebration of the International Mother Tongue Day.

In a world where communication knows no boundaries, the celebration of the International Mother Tongue Day, celebrated annually on February 21, has become more important than ever. It serves as a reminder of the rich diversity of languages shaping the global society around us.

According to Lyudmila Tabachenko, professor of the Department of General and Comparative Linguistics at SFedU, this day was approved as a sign of remembrance of the events of February 21, 1952, when students were injured by police during a demonstration in defense of their native Bengali language in Bangladesh. They demanded that Bengali be recognized as one of the official languages, along with West Pakistani Urdu. The International Mother Tongue Day was established by the decision of the 30th session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 1999, and has been celebrated on February 21 since 2000.

"It is to this holiday that a bright and colorful student festival is timed, which for the tenth time (since 2015) will traditionally be held within the walls of our Institute of Philology, Journalism and Intercultural Communication of the Southern Federal University. It is also a day of reconciliation, because linguistic discrimination and the prohibition of native languages are one of the causes of interethnic conflicts, including military ones. The native language is a special vision of the world, it is the history of the people, it is their soul. In a certain sense, International Mother Tongue Day acts as a catalyst for dialogue and mutual respect, it inspires people to accept and learn languages other than their own, and also promotes linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism of our planet. The warmth and love with which students speak about their native languages, the respect and affection with which they relate to other languages, will undoubtedly strengthen solidarity based on mutual understanding, tolerance and dialogue," Lyudmila Tabachenko said.

The International Mother Tongue Day is celebrated very vividly and widely in the SFedU Institute of Philology, Journalism and Intercultural Communications. Students enthusiastically talk about their native languages, their history, distribution, and features. The festival participants make colorful presentations in Russian, coping well with all its difficulties, often with humor, involving the audience in the process of getting to know their native language. Listeners always warmly accept poems and songs in their native languages; foreign students delight the audience with incendiary folk dances and theatrical performances in folk costumes. There is also a quiz dedicated to our native language, Russian. Most often, students introduce students to Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Armenian, French, Turkish, Greek, Turkmen, Croatian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Dari. Of the rare languages, there are such as Tswana, Lingala, Bubi, Wolof, Quechua, toba.

Events dedicated to the International Mother Tongue Day are also held at the International Institute of Interdisciplinary Education and Ibero-American Studies of the Southern Federal University. The Festival "Dialogue of Languages and Cultures" has been held there since 2020.

"This event always evokes a great response from students. In addition to Spanish, Chinese, Mongolian, Arabic, Indonesian, Persian, and Turkmen, which appear in the program every year, the students also presented rare and little-known languages, for example, the Yoruba language, spoken in Nigeria, Lingala language, spoken in Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa, Guarani language

Paraguay, Swahili is the language of Tanzania, Kenya and other African countries, Bubi language (Equatorial Guinea), Creole language (Haiti), Quechua (Ecuador) and Urdu (Pakistan)," said Olga Polovinkina, a teacher at Institute of SFedU Interdisciplinary Education and Ibero-American Studies.

International Mother Tongue Day is a celebration of the beauty and importance of languages around the world, it reminds us of the importance of preserving cultural heritage, promoting inclusivity and mutual understanding between different communities.

Short link to this page sfedu.ru/news/74550

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