International Day of Multilingualism

February 11, 2021 by Leave your thoughts

As you know, I am into languages in a big way. I love learning new languages and you may have seen my most recent foray into Learning Korean. In between I also talk about other languages like 2021 being the year for the Manx language. Naturally for me there is a big interest in an International Day of Multilingualism!

Wait! Don’t we already have an International Day of Multilingualism?

The short answer is no. But we do have some really great events in the calendar already that you may have thought included this idea.

As a new year begins the first big date on the international language celebration calendar is the UN’s International Mother Language Day. It happens every year on 21st February. We also have the the European Day of Languages on 26th September every year too.

Map of Events for Year of Indigenous Languages
Map of Events for Year of Indigenous Languages

I was particularly pleased to see indigenous languages celebrated with the Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019, which then turned into a decade! We We got involved with the Polyglot Conference and were recognised as an official event celebrating indigenous languages!

So why do we need another language day?

All of the other days to celebrate languages are absolutely wonderful. We need them to put the spotlight on those different tongues throughout the year. They focus on a person’s very specific language or languages. So indigenous languages, mother languages or European languages have their time in spotlight and rightly so!

The International Day of Multilingualism allows us to celebrate all of the language we speak, sing, hum, whistle, read, write or sign, whenever we learnt them (not just from birth or childhood) and no matter where those languages are from, even other worldly, like Klingon!

How did the International Day of Multilingualism start?

In 2019 and 2020 Dr. Thomas H. Bak had the idea to set up this day on 27th March. He started using the hashtag #MultlingualIsNormal so people could understand that being multilingual is not just normal and advantageous, but also something that’s been around since forever and is still the norm on world level. I took some time to discuss the thoughts and ideas behind it a bit more during a Zoom call.

We are excited to bring everyone together to celebrate this day and to be involved in lots of activities in the run up to it as well.

Get involved, join the Facebook group and check out the website too. We will be using the following hashtags across social media too: #MultilingualIsNormal #MultilingualismDay #MultilingualMonday

Follow us on social media and get involved with the questions we post. Find out more information about the event and how to sign up very soon.

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This post was written by Richard

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