International Mother Language Day celebrated

International Mother Language Day celebrated

Organizations working to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, and multilingualism in the country acknowledges the hosting of the International Mother Language Day yesterday.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development in partnership with the Solomon Islands National University ( SINU), and the Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group (SITAG) hosted an event to mark the day at the Panatina Campus Pavilion.

Speaking to SIBC News, SITAG Translator Advisor Mr. Andrew Van Andel said commemorating the day shows recognition towards the different forms of languages in the country.

SITAG Translator Advisor Mr. Andrew Van Andel

” There are more than 7,000 languages in the world and this day is commemorated worldwide to celebrate our mother languages, not just languages of education but languages that we have spoken since we came into this world.”

” Sometimes we speak highly of our educational and institutional languages and tend to forget the value of our mother languages. Even in the Christian perspective, God created us with our mother languages so celebrating today shows recognition towards our mother languages as they are a part of our identity,” said Van Andel.

SITAG works under the Solomon Islands Christian Association involving in bible translations and other language Ministry’s in the country.

Through their partnership with SICA, members are assigned to work with particular communities that do not have bibles translated into their own mother language.

Translated books on display at the International Mother Language Day

Mr. Andel says through this they are able to work with communities to translate the bible and at the same time realize the significance of their mother language.

” By working with communities I have been very encouraged to see how community members learn their language in way that they see its importance, its significance and its value through the word of God.”

“So on Mother Language day, it also important to remember and celebrate such achievements.”

Meanwhile, National Coordinator at the Literacy Association of Solomon Islands, Pricilla Maeniuta also acknowledges the commemoration of Mother Language Day as an integral part of the work they do.

” We work with adults and youths that don’t have much access to opportunities to further their education and what we try to do is teach literacy to them through their own mother language. This way we think it can help them to understand things and read much faster.”

“We believe it is important to promote our mother language in such celebrations as we recognize the efforts that we do in ensuring that our youths are provided the opportunity to learn literacy in a more efficient way,” she said.

However, Mrs. Maeniuta said factors such as inter-marriage and migration creates challenges in terms of the younger generation not knowing their mother language.

Literacy Association of Solomon Islands National Coordinator, Pricilla Maeniuta

She encourages the teaching of mother language to be done at home during the early stages.

” Intermarriage and moving from rural to urban areas has become a challenge for some family’s as usually the children are brought up in a pidgin speaking household. But that does not mean just because they speak pidgin we shouldn’t teach them their mother language.”

” It is important for us to identify ourselves with our mother languages and take the time to learn them. It is a challenge that is still within our control where we can still teach our children to learn, speak and write our mother languages.”

The International Mother Language Day is celebrated annually on the 21st of February.


By Eliza Kukutu

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