Inclusive Education through and with Language: Language Matters

International Mother Language Day 2015

Today, we celebrate and honour the International Mother Language Day, which was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999.

International Mother Language Day has then been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

“Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.” – UNESCO

Therefore, in Malaysia, we must always remind and educate our children on their mother tongue be it different Malay dialects from each states; aboriginal Malay language like Temuan, Jakun, Duano; Chinese dialects of Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew, Hainanese, Hakka, Hokchew; Indian dialects of Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi; Punjabi; Eastern Malaysian dialects from Iban, Kadazan, Dusun, Bajau, Kelabit, Bidayuh and many other dialects that I couldn’t name all. That is what makes Malaysia special: Linguistic and cultural diversity.

However, we must not forget the importance of our national language, Bahasa Malaysia that forms the identity of a Malaysian.