國發會與ICRT共同製播的時事英語廣播“The World in Brief”固定於每周三在雙語資料庫學習資源網更新，與大家一起聽時事學英文。
每年的2月21日為聯合國教科文組織認定的國際母語日(International Mother Language Day)，透過這個節日宣傳母語的重要性，避免更多的語言從這個世界上消失。想知道更多嗎？讓我們用3分鐘的時間一起來聽聽記者Max McGrath怎麼說吧！
Nora: The biggest news … the best guests … the boldest events … This is ‘The World in Brief’ with Max McGrath.
Nora: 你好 (Nǐ hǎo)! ওহে (Ōhē)!* Hello! International Mother Language Day is this week: a day full of culture, diversity, and heritage. To tell us more, roving reporter Max McGrath joins us live from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Max?
Max: Thanks Nora. I’m at the Shaheed Minar: a monument here in Bangladesh’s capital city, built in memory of those who lost their lives in the 1952 Bengali Language Movement. With me now is Laura Berzina, an English language teacher from the USA, and a passionate human rights activist. Laura, hi!
Laura: Hello Max! Or, ‘sveiki’!
Max: What was that?
Laura: ‘Sveiki’! It’s ‘hello’ in Latvian!
Max: Hang on, wait … I thought you said you were from the United States …?
Laura: I am! I was born in the USA. My family is from Latvia.
Max: I see. So someone’s ‘mother language’ is related to their … relatives?
Laura: Sort of. It’s all about the first language you ever knew. My first words were in Latvian! That makes it my mother language.
Max: But you don’t speak Latvian usually, do you? You’re an English teacher, living in Bangladesh! Why is a person’s mother language so important?
Laura: It’s not just important, it’s vital! As humans we use words to describe every part of ourselves, our whole existence! Did you know that, right now, over 7000 languages are in use across our planet?
Max: I had no idea!
Laura: Amazing, right?! Many of those are indigenous languages, only spoken by a small group of native peoples. The amount we could learn from those tiny communities is quite incredible.
Max: How do you mean?
Laura: OK, I’ll show you: How many words do you know for ‘reindeer’?
Max: You mean the animal … there’s only one, right?
Laura: For you and I, sure! But for the Sami community, who live in the frozen north of Europe, there’s over a thousand! Reindeer are very important for them culturally, they use them for food, transport … all kinds of things. They need all those words to tell them apart.
Max: But most cultures don’t …
Laura: Exactly. That’s why many languages are now falling out of use, going extinct. It says a lot about how vulnerable many indigenous cultures around the world truly are. By safeguarding their language, we help protect their heritage.
Max: You mean, whole cultures are at risk?
Laura: They are. That’s why the theme for this year’s holiday is ‘Multilingual education’. ‘Multilingual’ means ‘more than one language’. The goal is to make learning accessible to more people, in more languages, so everyone can get the education they deserve.
Max: You really care about this, I can tell!
Laura: It’s true, I’m very passionate about it.
Max: Do you think that’s because of your family?
Laura: No, I reckon it’s actually because of this monument. Back in the 50s the government here wanted everyone to speak the same language. They chose Urdu, a local dialect, but most folk spoke a different language, called Bengali. People here protested, and the police panicked. They opened fire. Five people were shot dead, and hundreds of others were injured.
Max: Wow. That’s really sad.
Laura: Years later, the Bangladeshi government led the way in making Mother Language Day an International holiday, which is why we celebrate it today.
Max: Thank you Laura. That was really enlightening. This is Max McGrath reporting live from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Nora?
Nora: (SFX: Back in the studio) Thanks Max! Or, in my mother language, 謝謝 Max! Thanks for tuning in everyone, I’m Nora Yu.
The questions put forward at the meeting are of vital importance.
There will be no indigenous people except the seagulls.
When the last speaker of a language dies, the language and its culture often become extinct too.
Multilingual education can help to keep vulnerable cultures and languages alive and make learning accessible.
There are dialects in small countries too, where even the words to say “thank you” might be different.
Multilingualism is advantageous for people wanting to participate in trade, globalization and cultural openness.
It was a very enlightening interview.