Folium: The Human Right to Speak Whatever Language You Want is Worth Celebrating via The Smithsonian

Folium: The Human Right to Speak Whatever Language You Want is Worth Celebrating via The Smithsonian

Folium: The Human Right to Speak Whatever Language You Want is Worth Celebrating via The Smithsonian


It is common among native speakers who move from a different country at the beginning of their language learning journey to become enveloped in a new language so much that they begin to forget their native tongue. These cases are more common than we know among our friends and neighbors here in the United States. Many come seeking a new life in a land of opportunity, but some opportunities only come to those who can speak the language really well, and that language is English.

But becoming too enveloped in the new language could be a bad thing. There is room for our brains to push out what we know to be of our native language and that language memory is lost. Mary Linn emphasises in her article that “Language is what makes us human.” All those who were born into a household that speaks more than one language is becoming more the norm in the United States, and that needs to be celebrated.

“This bond between individuals and their languages, one that if broken is not forgotten for generations, the UN recognizes as a human right.”The Smithsonian

International Mother Language Day!

Mary says “The phrase ‘mother language,’ which we once described as ‘mother tongue,’ refers to what we are taught at home from birth by our mothers—our first language or native language.” There is reason to celebrate this! I grew up with a grandmother whose parents were from Mexico. Her native language, or the language that she was taught from birth was Spanish. Over time, she learned English while attending an English speaking elementary school, and currently doesn’t use her native language like she should.

Languages are severely endangered and are at risk of being lost in our lifetime. Mary suggests that we build bonds with our families in or to be able to remember these languages that will eventually be lost. She goes on to say that there is also a loss of language diversity. We as humans can create languages as quickly as we can make them disappear. We may not see how the loss of these languages will affect us now, but we will.

“Languages are severely endangered and risk being lost in our lifetime. Some languages haven’t been heard for as many as 100 years while some disappeared a few years ago.” – The Smithsonian

Languages Make Connections!

In many areas of the world, households are not just bilingual, but multilingual. I can name a few families that are in a multilingual home. There is something beautiful about the human mind being capable of communicating through different languages in a family. There is a special bond between the parent the child made when communicating in their native tongue and this is biggest point that Mary wanted to make in her article.

Mary says excitingly that celebrating a language is like celebrating your birthday! It is what makes you unique. It is a quality that you share with many others, but yet it is something unique to you in your own family. Not only can you communicate with those in your family, but you can also create new connections with those who also live in a multilingual home, and can make connections you never thought you could before. So make the goal to celebrate mother language day and make an effort to come to know the mother language of your family and keep languages close to your heart.

Julie Martin
LEAF Editor & Contributor

(ed. Video is not from the Smithsonian article, but related nonetheless…)