Mother Tongue and Education

Linguists, language experts and child-psychologists believe that children can learn better in their mother tongue but that doesn’t go against multilingual education. It has also been observed that children studying through multilingual system develop better thinking and skills than monolingual education systems. Parents and peer all can help the child understand the issues if it is in their mother tongue by more interactions. Bonding and sense of cultural identity are also reinforced through it. International Mother Language Day (IMLD), celebrated every year on 21st February, is a recognition of the importance of everybody’s mother tongue which honours the principle of multilingualism and mutual respect.

There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today and some of them are spoken by only a few thousand people. Indus valley and ancient Iran civilizations had their written languages and symbols which were used around 5000 years from now but haven’t been deciphered as yet. Experts have not been able to unlock the secrets of many ancient writing systems and hence many of the features of those civilizations remain a mystery.

Internet and electronic media has proved to be a boon for the progress of languages. New tools for the advancement and popularization of written and spoken languages are being developed and becoming popular. Better communication, building new resources and spreading awareness through media in one’s own language is fast improving. It is heartening to know that people have now started communicating in their own language through social networking sites like Facebook and thus help in its promotion.

Professor S. P. Singh, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Human Biology Review
Former Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences,
Punjabi University, Patiala, India

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