Sunday, April 04, 2010

The importance of Multilingualism

"Multilingualism, which can be defined as the harmonious accommodation of different languages spoken within a common space, therefore becomes an essential component of educational and cultural policies, to which attention must increasingly be paid," said Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, in a statement on the occasion of International Mother Day Language 2010.

"At the same time, the learning of foreign languages and, as a result, the individual ability to use several languages encourages openness towards diversity and understanding of other cultures. As such, it must be promoted as a constructive and structural element of modern education."

Because of the increased pace of communication in our globalized world, translation is enjoying a level of growth unprecedented in the history of humanity, Bokova said. "For it to become a genuine tool for reciprocal dialogue and knowledge, we must promote a more diversified and even more balanced context of cultural and scientific exchange.

"Multilingualism, the learning of foreign languages and translation are three strategic axes for the language policies of tomorrow. On the occasion of this 11th International Mother Language Day, I am appealing to the international community to give the mother language, in each of these three axes, its rightful, fundamental place, in a spirit of respect and tolerance which paves the way for peace," Bokova said.

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