21st February, IMLD — My thoughts
[I wrote and shared these thoughts with a Writing group in New Jersey]
21st February — IMLD — International Mother Language Day. — My thoughts
Many places in the world, February 21st is celebrated as International Mother Language Day to recognize and promote multilingual diversity. This day also aims to preserve and transmit traditional knowledge and cultures through multilingual societies. It was initiated in Bangladesh. UNESCO adopted it in 2000 and made it part of the heritage. To a Bangla speaking person, it is the most solemn reminder how important, precious and costly it is to have your mother language preserved, protected, practiced and advanced. I saw it first hand.
For a long time, I thought English was the National Language of the United States. Everywhere I went, I was asked questions in English and was expected to answer in English. I spent countless hours learning to read and write in English well, still do. I thought it was everyone’s duty to learn the National or the official language of a country well. However, much later I was surprised to learn that the U.S. does not have a national language or an official language.
I was thoroughly surprised at first. Then I thought perhaps it did not need to be. It is the de facto official language of the U.S. As a matter of fact it is the de facto International or global language of the world. I have a strong feeling, if someone comes to visit from outer space, they better learn to communicate in English or bring a translator device with them to translate whatever to English and English to whatever.
Just one minor thing to remember, things do change over time. That is,
During the 17th century, Latin was considered the first Global language. During the 18th and 19th century, French was the Global language. During the 20th and in the 21st century it is English.