Sheffield University will host the Second International Languages Festival to celebrate the thirteenth International Mother Language Day on 17th and 18th March 2012.
International Mother Language Day in 2012 comes tomorrow, 21 February. The theme for this year is ‘Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education’ which dedicate to multilingualism for inclusive education.
International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
The Ehnologue quotes that there are 6909 living languages, in an average one language for every 862,000 people on Earth.
However, actually 94% of languages are spoken by only 6% of the World’s population, which means hundreds of languages with just a few thousand or even a few hundred speakers.
Increasing fewer speakers and over attention to several widely spread languages like English, French, German, Chinese, and Arabic indicate the fate of the languages with a few speakers.
Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
The danger of dismissing languages is more obvious in international students. Nearly half of the students being asked to speak “I love my mother tongue” in their native languages need to think for more than 15 seconds. Even four of the 26 interviewees said they didn’t know how to speak their native languages and could only speak English.
The International Languages Festival aims to spark participants' interests for language and linguistics, at the same time demonstrating the diverse culture and dialects present in Sheffield University.
This is the only international language festival in the UK and it will open to everyone not only university students.
This year there are 80 different languages and dialects from across the globe will be taught during the two days, including a wide selection of African languages, Chinese dialects, English dialects and special languages and codes such as Sign Language or Braille.
The organizer of International Languages Festival says the Sheffield University is a perfect institution to hold this international event with almost 90 different nationalities among the teaching staff and over 130 nationalities among students.
Today 20 international students with different native languages shouted:" I love my mother tongue!"