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The Slovenian language is alive and thriving

Since 2000, 21 February marks International Mother Language Day.

The Slovenian language is a mother language of a very small percentage of the world’s population; however, it can be used to verbalise all spheres of life and participation

The Slovenian language is a mother language of a very small percentage of the world’s population; however, it can be used to verbalise all spheres of life and participation | Author skynesher-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

A year before, UNESCO proclaimed it as an international day in order to promote the respect of all mother languages across the world. The topic of this year's celebration is Languages without Borders.

Nataša Gliha Komac from the Fran Ramovš Institute of the Slovenian Language at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts pointed out that the Slovenian language is a mother language of a very small percentage of the world’s population; however, it can be used to verbalise all spheres of life and participation. "And this is what we are forgetting! Language lives with us and because of us. We are the ones who exist in it and determine it with our usage and practices."

That being said, the researcher wonders whether we give it enough opportunities. Nataša Gliha Komac welcomes the numerous events that are held in celebration of International Mother Language Day in order to emphasise its importance. She believes them to be an important collective commemoration of language and of a certain occasion. "However, what is important is the life of the language, not only the memory of it," she says.

Since 2000, International Mother Language Day has been an occasion to commemorate the protest and death of Bengali students who demanded equality of their language, Bengali, in Pakistan in 1952. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) introduced it in order to highlight the need for preserving cultural and linguistic diversity across the world.

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