Imagine if your mother tongue was at risk of never being heard again.

21 February 2019

Imagine if your mother tongue was at risk of never being heard again.

More than 2,500 languages in the world are endangered. That's more than 40% of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken across the world.

They're the lullabies mothers sing to their newborns…the name a child calls his father.

The words for the stars, wind and moon—the sounds and meanings all traditionally handed down through generations.

Today is International Mother Language Day, a chance to promote linguistic and cultural diversity across the world. The theme of this year is 'Linguistic diversity and multilingualism: keystones of sustainability and peace'.

The day is even more significant this year as it is also the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019).

Language is a powerful tool for preserving and maintaining cultural heritage but the world's linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened. Across the world, every two weeks a language disappears taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.

International Mother Language Day and IY2019 aim to raise awareness of the importance of language to culture and heritage and to find new ways of preserving and promoting Indigenous languages.

Find out more