from the Director-General on the occasion of the
International Mother Language Day - 21 February 2002
Chinese - English
- French - Russian - Spanish
Mother Language Day aims at promoting linguistic diversity and multilingual
education, and at raising awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions
based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
Today, about half of the 6,000 or so languages spoken in the world are
under threat. Over the past three centuries, languages have died out and
disappeared at a dramatic and steadily increasing pace, especially in
the Americas and Australia. At least 3,000 tongues are endangered, seriously
endangered or dying in many parts of the world.
International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated on 21 February
every year throughout the world, was launched at the 30th session of the
General Conference of UNESCO in 1999.
on International Mother Language Day 2002 (PDF) and also the 2002