Yesterday, the 21st of February, was International Mother Language Day. 2019 has also been declared the Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations.
In Cameroon, we are part of a Wycliffe partner organization, SIL International, which works to develop indigenous languages all over the world. They have put together a small web site talking about International Mother Language Day
Included in this site is a short video that include many people saying in their mother language “My Language Matters”. Please watch it.
As a mother-tongue speaker of a language of wide communication, English, it’s difficult to understand how it feels to speak a lesser-known language as your mother tongue. One thing that has been clear to me, however, after arriving in Cameroon is that people react to their mother tongue: visibly and emotionally.
Just the other day I was at a celebration, and I witnessed a man come across a small booklet in his mother tongue, a Cameroonian language. The excitement was clear on his face as he began reading it. His connection with the words of his own language could be felt. His joy was pouring out in his words.
His language matters.
Your language matters.
We all matter to God.