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Today is International Mother Language Day. The history of the International Mother Language Day is a tragic one. On 21st February 1952, passionate youth took to the streets of Pakistan to demand recognition of Bengali (a language said to be spoken by majority of the people in the state) as a national language. The police opened fire killing hundreds of the protesters. Lives were lost in the name of protecting language. That’s just how powerful it is. Language preserves culture and promotes it all across the world.


Uganda is full of diversity; with tribes, race, people as a whole which means there are ‘aloooot’ of mother tongues. Very many people have noted that in a community where English is spoken, people tend to forget to speak or choose not to speak their mother tongues because it is shameful or shows backwardness.


“Every person has a right to belong to, enjoy, practise, profess, maintain and promote any culture, cultural institution, language, tradition with others”.

Article 37 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda

Here is a number of advantages to knowing your mother tongue;

The Pride

Knowing your mother tongue well is a matter of pride. It boosts one’s confidence and creates a sense of belonging to a particular group, tribe and country. What better way to connect with culture than through language? Usually the best way to thoroughly practice a culture is through language.

Intellectual Development

It has also been noted that if a student is educated in his/her mother tongue, the rate of his or her educational success is higher than someone who is taught in a different language other than their mother tongue. Hmmmmm!!

Second language learning

Studies have suggested that if one has a firm grasp of their mother tongue, it is easier for him or her to master a new language. There is more tolerance in appreciating stronger language skills.

Commercial benefits

A lot of business is local business. Knowing a local mother language sets an advantage for one who knows it over another who may not know it. If one wants to become an entrepreneur, they may need to know or understand their mother language. Many local opportunities relating to money come up in this market.

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.