International Mother Language Day on 21 February 2019 coincided this year with the International Year of Indigenous Languages and was celebrated worldwide with blog posts, events, the release of new reports and a film festival. Here are our top picks:

Mother Tongue Education is changing lives in Thailand Children learn to read and write in their home language before bridging to the national language through a specially designed Thai language acquisition curriculum. The results in the region have been stunning.

More Examples of Succesful Mother Tongue Education That children learn better when they understand the language is an indisputable fact. For International Mother Language Day, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) reviewed the results in three countries: Eritrea, the Gambia and Uzbekistan.

School celebrations:  International Mother Language Day was celebrated
in Suriname with reading in Sranan Tongo, the Creole language that is spoken throughout the country but not taught in schools. In Canada, Amsterdam and The Hague, schools organised various activities including songs, dances and games to celebrate the multiple languages children bring with them school.

Indigenous peoples are losing their knowledge. We must make sure education is not part of the problem.

Listen to the podcast: the Permanent Representative to the UN of Bangladesh was asked why his country initiated International Mother Language Day and why should we even try to protect languages?

I Too was Reborn

I Too was Reborn: a beautiful short film made by the Mapuche School of Filmmaking and Communication

Mother Tongue Film Festival The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival in Washington, D.C. celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world. It opens on International Mother Language Day and has four days of free screenings.

The Guide to Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities produced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, was translated into the Tibetan language and released on International Mother Language Day.

Mother Tongue: The Most Beautiful Gift We have. A blog post written by one of the editors of the new book ‘New perspectives on Translanguaging and Education’.

1, 2, 3…4 Mother Tongues


I was born in The Netherlands and have a German father and Ghanaian mother. We spoke 4 languages at home (Dutch, Twi, English and German). Even though I always loved the fact that I understand multiple languages, at times it would feel a bit overwhelming.
If my mom would talk to me in Twi I would respond in Dutch or English. Or when a German family member would ask or say something I would tell my father what I wanted to say and ask him if he could respond for me. Now I can say that I am proud that I represent multiple languages and nationalities. I think that is why I always have been eager to travel the world and explore more languages, nationalities and cultures. I have been to Ecuador for an exchange program of six months, where I learned Spanish (language #5). Hopefully one day I will add a sixth language.

Not Cool!

I was born in the Netherlands but my parents are from Japan so when I was a child I had to attend both Dutch and Japanese school. I really disliked going to the Japanese school because it was on Saturdays. Six days of school is not cool. Keep reading Yuki’s story.Now I’m so thankful…

Continue Reading