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The significance of International Mother Language Day and the unexplored richness of Ghanaian languages

By: Angelina Tukpe


International Mother Language Day is observed every year on February 21. This year, the special day falls on Wednesday.


On February 21, 1952, four students were killed as they started the movement to make Bengali the official language in Bangladesh. In November 1999 the General Conference of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed International Mother Language Day, which was later welcomed by the General Assembly of the UN. The theme for this year’s International Mother Language Day is multilingual education a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning.

This observance holds great importance as it serves as a powerful reminder of the value of linguistic diversity and the need to preserve and promote Mother languages worldwide. In the vibrant tapestry of linguistic traditions, Ghana’s array of languages holds a special place, with its distinct taste and essence that is often not fully appreciated by those who do not speak them fluently.

Ghana, a country renowned for its cultural diversity, is home to over 80 languages belonging to different ethnic groups. From Akan to Ga, Ewe, and more, these languages encapsulate the traditions, stories and wisdom of countless generations. However, many Ghanaians, particularly the younger generations, may not have the opportunity to fully comprehend or express themselves fluently in their mother tongue the reasons behind this vary, ranging from the increasing influence of global languages.

Despite these barriers”, the taste” of Ghanaian Mother languages remains deeply embedded within the fabric of the country’s cultural identity. Each language carries its unique rhythm, tonality, and emotional depth, offering a profound sensory and intellectual experience to those who engage in it. Even for those who do not have a complete understanding of their mother tongue, the mere act of listening to the melodic cadences and emotive qualities of these languages can evoke a sense of connection to one’s roots and heritage.

Efforts to preserve and promote Ghanaian languages are vital not only for linguistic diversity but also for maintaining the country’s cultural identity. International Mother Language Day stands as a testament to the enduring value and the need to cherish and protect the world’s mother languages. For Ghanaians, it serves as a poignant reminder to explore, preserve, and celebrate their linguistic heritage. The tastes of Ghanaian Mother languages, though not fully known by all beckons to be savoured, appreciated and safeguarded ensuring that the wisdom and beauty of these languages endure over time.

By celebrating International Mother Language Day and embracing the taste of their mother languages Ghanaians can journey towards a deeper connection with their cultural roots, finding pride, unity, and inspiration in the diverse linguistic traditions that define their nation.

Source: Adoanews.com

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