ACT News

Canberrans demonstrate pride in their mother-tongue languages

Multilingualism was on the tip of the tongues of many Canberrans this Saturday as they joined together to mark International Mother Language Day.

Mi lengua, mi orgullo (Spanish); Meine sprache, mein stolz (German); Bahasa saya, saya bangga (Indonesia); my language, my pride – was the overriding theme of the day.

However it was expressed, the slogan of the second annual International Mother Language Movement Walk echoed across the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. 

Canberra-based International Mother Language Movement convenor Ziaul Hoque, said he was proud to see participants from a wider array of language backgrounds involved in the event.

"This day is about creating a platform that enables people to enjoy and take pride in linguistic diversity at the community level," he said.

But not all languages are created equal.

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According to UNESCO 97 per cent of the world's people speak about 4 per cent of the world's languages. 

Mr Hoque said it was language diversity was recognised as an asset and its survival is contingent on sharing preserved. 

"People worry about species becoming extinct but we are facing a loss of languages across the world," he said.

"This community campaign gives people an opportunity to be open.

"We want to leave a legacy with the next generation so they too take pride in the linguistic diversity in Australia." 

After a morning walk around the lake, a mini-multilingual festival got underway at Regatta Point. 

The event featured poems Dari, one of the official languages of Afghanistan beside Pashto, as well as a fashion parade of traditional Afghan dress. 

Adorned in elegant technicolour traditional dress, Nadia Farhadi, 19, said she was thrilled her mother tongue, Dari, was in the spotlight. 

"We don't really have things like this happening all the time for people from Afghanistan in Canberra," she said.

"In Australian society we forget where we are from, and can't always speak our language so that's why this is special." 

The atmosphere was lively as people of all backgrounds watched capoeira performance, traditional Chinese dance, Tongan dance and songs performed in various languages. 

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