21st February is International Mother Language Day and our blog is hosting a 2 day celebration of languages. A series of blog posts by people from different walks of life – sharing their thoughts on languages, memories and more. International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
(This post was sent in by Renu Seth. Renu has been associated with Pratham since 2005. She enjoys her work and interaction with children, and has a firm belief, that reading to and with children and encouraging them to read, plays a great role in their learning in life.)
Being an Indian means to me much diversity and yet a very strong thread of oneness.
Living in a city, one often learns many languages – by the sheer living around and listening to people who speak different languages at home. So while we celebrate, observe and reflect on International mother language day, celebrating the Indian linguistic diversity becomes very natural. I have lived in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, my mother tongue is Hindi and I feel and understand the comfort of communication in Marathi, Gujarati and in Hindi. I feel fortunate to identify with the nuances of these languages.
There is no debate with respect to the premise that children learn best in their first language and first language allows for optimal learning in the early years of school. As part of my life experience, I would like to acknowledge the gain from the social lingual environment I was exposed to, allowing me to develop second language skills as a growing up process.
I enjoy a special kind of mother language day feelings, which encompasses the same for more languages than one!