February 21: international language day
Policy Matters

February 21: international language day

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The ninth International Mother Language Day on 21 February 2008 was observed as an occasion of a double celebration as it also marks the launch of the International Year of Languages with the slogan 'languages matter!' Both occasions provide an opportunity for the recognition of linguistic diversity and the importance of multilingual education.

On 16 May 2007, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 to be the International Year of Languages. As language issues are central to UNESCO's mandate in education, science, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information, the Organization has been named the lead agency for this event.

However, the digital divide remains. This access inequality is also a linguistic inequality, as the languages used on the Web are not those most widely spoken. Accordingly, UNESCO is concerned with the protection of cultural and linguistic diversity and promotes language diversity on the Internet too.

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