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February, 21st is the International Mother Language Day. According to the United Nations organization reports, approximately 43% of the 6000 world languages are on the brink of extinction. The education systems and the public domain use only a few hundred languages. And the number is even less in the digital world. The Typical Student team tells you more about this remarkable holiday.
This international holiday is especially important for African, Asian, and Latin American countries to raise awareness about the necessity of multilingual education. International Mother Language Day is celebrated to support equal educational opportunities (namely, literacy and numeracy) for men and women worldwide. The inability to learn in their mother tongue, affects roughly 221 million school children worldwide.
Africa: Embracing the Multilanguage Education
Only in African countries, 2,144 languages are spoken nationwide! To maintain tremendous lingual diversity, the African continent needs a strategy for mother-tongue based bilingual education. To prevent the national languages from disappearing, they have to be used on all educational levels - from primary through to tertiary level.
Translanguaging (polylanguaging) is bound to become the new cultural reality. Translanguaging is a social and cultural phenomenon based on using the languages as a unified communication system. Africans use translanguaging to communicate in urban contexts. For an outsider, this might look like they are talking in two or more languages simultaneously. Sociolinguists see this as an opportunity for growth and development rather than a hindrance.
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