MLD2011en.jpg 教科文組織國際母語日海報&信息




 Message of the UNESCO Director-General,

Irina Bokova,

on the occasion of International Mother Language Day

21 February 2011


All languages are linked through their origins and borrowing, but each

is a unique source of meaning for understanding, writing and expressing

reality.Mother languages are special in providing the material with which

 the world is firstvoiced, the lens through which it is first understood.

International Mother Language Day is a moment to recognize their

importance and to mobilise for multilingualism and linguistic diversity.

Mother languages, along with linguistic diversity, matter for the identity of

individuals. As sources of creativity and vehicles for cultural expression,

they are also important for the health of societies. Not least, languages

are factors for development and growth. We know how important education

in the mother language is for learning outcomes. Mother language instruction

is a powerful way to fight discrimination and reach out to marginalised

populations. As wellsprings of knowledge, languages are also starting points

 for greater sustainability in development, for managing more harmoniously

our relationship with the environment and change.

Multilingualism opens fabulous opportunities for the dialogue that is necessary

to understanding and cooperation. Mother languages live harmoniously with

the acquisition of other languages. A plural linguistic space allows the wealth of

diversity to put in common. It accelerates the exchange of knowledge and

experience. This was one of the core themes of the 2010, International

Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures. Building on the mother language,

 the learning of ultiple languages must be a pillar of 21st century education.

At the same time, we can do more to support the balanced development of

translation, as a channel to open to all the great diversity of knowledge and

experience throughout the world.

The theme of the 2011 International Mother Language Day concerns the

use of information and communication technologies for safeguarding and

 promoting languages and linguistic diversity.

Languages provide the software for information and communication technologies.

These technologies are also a new frontier for promoting linguistic diversity.

UNESCO is committed to promoting multilingualism on the Internet. These goals

guide UNESCO in its work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and


Innovative technologies provide new ways also to follow, examine and learn

languages. The success of the online edition of UNESCO’s Atlas of the

World’s Languages in Danger shows the power of the Internet to track the

state of languages and multilingualism, and to raise awareness with a global

audience. Information and communication technologies can be especially

useful in promoting mother languages. We must harness the power of progress

 to protect diverse visions of the world and to promote all sources of knowledge

and forms of expression. These are the threads that weave the tapestry of

humanity’s story. The innovation, flexibility and social interaction that lie at the

 heart of new information and communication technologies can support these

 goals. On this International Mother Language Day, let us pledge to work

together in this direction.

Irina Bokova

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