Around the world on International Mother Language Day

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International Mother Language Day was celebrated for the first time in 2000 following the 1999 UNESCO initiative. The aim is to preserve cultural and linguistic diversity as well as multilingualism.

According to UNESCO, differences in language and culture must be maintained in order to promote tolerance and respect. Every mother tongue contains unique ways of thinking and expressing itself and provides access to the special culture and traditions of a language community. Every two weeks, a language and its cultural and intellectual heritage disappear, leaving at least 43% of the approx. 6-7000 languages ​​spoken in the world threatened. A similar proportion of people’s known possibilities for structuring their thoughts and their world are thus in danger, and if they disappear, …

Are the Nordic languages mutually understandable?

Skaermbillede 2022 01 01 kl. 14.15.11

There is a common understanding outside the Nordic countries that Nordic people can all understand one another’s languages, or at least the Scandinavians (the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians) can. However, this impression of linguistic unity is not wholly accurate.

Is there a ‘Scandinavian’ language?

People from outside the Nordics might be tempted to believe communication between Nordic speakers is effortless, and that their languages are mutually understandable. From a practical point of view, ‘Scandinavian’ was – and still is – used when many Danish, Norwegian and Swedish people communicate with one another. They primarily speak their own language, perhaps replacing some words, phrases, or pronouncing things slightly differently, depending on who they are talking to. In fact, in a paper …