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Watch group celebrates mother tongue day

Vilimaina Naqelevuki
Saturday, February 24, 2018

TO commemorate International Mother Language Day, the Fiji Media Watch (FMW) group had an in-house exchange session on Wednesday to speak about the challenges most cultures were faced with as their languages slowly deteriorated.

FMW acting director Laitia Tamata said we should all embrace our mother language and strive to protect it.

"We all should embrace our mother language and strive to protect, nourish nurture and enjoy it.

"Our mother tongue day should not only be on writing narratives or speaking our mother tongue languages, but in research breakthrough and new discoveries on how best to study and enjoy our languages."

International Mother Language Day has been celebrated by UNESCO every February 21 for the past 20 years and this year's theme is "Linguistic Diversity and Multilingualism: Keystones of Sustainability and Peace".

FMW has celebrated International Mother Language Day for the past two years, and Mr Tamata said they believed that language was an integral part of our identity.

"In line with our thematic project-targeted activities, FMW considers this day vital for our Pacific people, to create awareness on the importance of embracing and nurturing part of our identity, our mother language," he said.

FMW program officer Mereoni Raivalita said with the work they did in communities, there would come a time when they needed to translate their presentations to vernacular for better understanding.

"We feel that with the communities we work with, when we conduct the workshops in the English language there comes a time within the workshop proper that we do translation into either Fijian, Hindi or Rotuman. So knowing our mother tongue is of importance because it would better articulate the work that we do in the respective communities," she said.

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