UNESCO - International Mother Language Day


Languages are important. They do much more than help people communicate. A language helps define a culture, history and ancestry of a group of people. Once a language is lost, humanity loses a part of our rich culture and heritage. Helping to preserve endangered languages is important to keep traditions alive.

UNESCO promotes events and activities on International Mother Language Day on February 21 to help encourage the recognition and celebration of the diverse heritage of humanity's mother tongues, especially minority ones, and to raise awareness about the need to preserve endangered languages. The Day provides a wonderful opportunity to discover and celebrate the rich diversity of languages spoken in our own communities.


Your task for this webquest is to become familiar with the significance of The International Mother Language Day observed at UNESCO on February 21st and to teach your Erasmus friends some words or phrases in your mother language.


Step 1

How much do you know about the languages people speak worldwide? Have a look at the infographic presented on this website: 50+ Fascinating Language Facts You Didn't Know [Infographic] (takelessons.com) . Was any of the facts presented surprising?

Now challenge your colleagues with a short Kahoot! game with questions related to the languages people speak across the world: https://create.kahoot.it/share/international-mother-language-day/b3f9e7c2-2e28-45a3-9483-cc420ae7d05f


Step 2

Have a look at the information provided by the United Nations website (International Mother Language Day | United Nations) and try to answer these questions:

1. How many of the languages spoken in the world today are considered endangered?

2. How many people do not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand?

3. When and why is "International Mother Language Day" observed?

To find out more about the history behind this international day, you can watch the video below:


Step 3

UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is intended to raise awareness about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity among policy-makers, speaker communities and the general public, and to be a tool to monitor the status of endangered languages and the trends in linguistic diversity at the global level.

Check the online version of the Atlas here http://www.unesco.org/languages-atlas/en/atlasmap.html and find out which languages spoken in your country are endangered. Do you or people you know speak any of these languages?


Romania (11), Croatia (8), Spain (5), Italy (30), Turkey (18), Greece (10)


Step 4

Find some words or phrases in your mother language and try to teach them to your foreign Erasmus friends, in a short video. Include simple and common words like "hello", "thank you" or "good bye" and an interesting phrase or idiom with a short explanation (like "piece of cake" in English, which means "very easy to do or accomplish").



Try to answer these questions at the end of this webquest:

- How would you summarize today's lesson in one sentence?

- What 3 new things have you learned today?

- What did you find easy?

- What did you find difficult?

- Is there something you would like to learn more about, in the future?



Language is fundamental to communication of all kinds, and it is communication that makes change and development possible in human society. Using — or not using — certain languages today can open a door, or close it, for large segments of society in many parts of the world.

Today there is growing awareness that languages play a vital role in development, in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, but also in strengthening co-operation and attaining quality education for all, in building inclusive knowledge societies and preserving cultural heritage, and in mobilizing political will for applying the benefits of science and technology to sustainable development.


This webquest was created within the co-funded Erasmus plus KA2 partnership “Unique National and European Symbols of our Culture and Originality” (U.N.E.S.C.O.), project number 2020-1-RO01-KA229-080180, for celebrating „International Mother Language Day” (international day observed at UNESCO on February 21st).