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International Mother Language Day Brings Diverse People Together

The world over celebrates diversity.  In February, one of the great ways to celebrate diversity arrives: International Mother Language Day on February 21st.  There are two good questions you may ask:

  • What does International Mother Language Day have to do with spinning for a progressive jackpot at Jackpot Capital online casino?
  • Why is February 21st always the date of this fine celebration?

Online Casino Gaming Brings People Together

As an online casino, Jackpot Capital casino serves as a means for people who come from hundreds of different walks of life and speak hundreds of different languages to come together! 

Some of our games allow gamers to play “against” players from all over the world.  Now, we can’t expect everyone to be able to communicate in every other language so we use English as our primary lingua franca.  But as gamers interact, they can share many stories about life in their native countries and about the holidays they celebrate and the customs they follow.

For example, we suspect that very few people from the Far East have the custom of kissing under the mistletoe!  Similarly, it is a distinctly Islamic custom for men to visit their female family members—mother, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters—bearing small gifts on the first day of the major Islamic holidays Id el Fitr and Id el Aqsa.

International Mother Language Day Began in Bangladesh

To compact complex historical events into a single paragraph, the British controlled what are today India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh until 1945.  Then India and Pakistan became independent nations.  Pakistan was divided between West Pakistan which is the Pakistan of today and East Pakistan which is the Bangladesh of today.

The language of West Pakistan was declared the official language of Pakistan.  The Bengals objected and after much struggle the Bangla language was recognized by Pakistan.  Some fifteen years later, Bangladesh became an independent nation with its own language as the official language of the state.

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On February 21st, 1952, four Bangladeshi students were killed in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, in a conflict over the two Pakistani languages.  In their memory, International Mother Language Day is always on February 21st.

How Many Languages are there in the World?

This is a great question.  Of course, no one knows for sure just how many languages there are in the world.  There are close to 200 countries in the world.  Each has its own language but English, Spanish, Arabic, French, and a few other are considered the primary or official language of many countries.

There are many countries with a fairly large number of languages.  China and India come to mind.  Both have more than one billion people so it stands to reason that they would have several official languages.  Still, how many languages are there?

Linguists estimate that there are about 6500 languages in the world!  Imagine if Jackpot Capital were to try to explain its games and promotions in every one of those languages!  It turns out that linguists also claim that about 2000 of those 6500 languages have fewer than 1000 native speakers!

With so much linguistic diversity in the world, we can begin to understand why International Mother Language Day is so important!  Let’s take a closer look at why language is so important.

Identity Stems from Complex Interweaving of Cultural Elements

Having a healthy self-identity of one’s group, sect, nation, or people is today recognized as being almost a God-given human right.  Language is the verbal means by which we communicate with people in our group.

Every student of any foreign language knows that there are words common in one language that cannot be perfectly translated into another language.  Native English speakers often have a hard time learning the grammar of other languages because English has two grammar forms, called past progressive and present perfect, which do not exist in  most languages!

So, one’s mother language is a major element in one’s identity.  In the modern world, we talk about social interaction.  This can be accomplished through games, sports, music, touch, and language.  Simply as an aside, you can see how playing online casino games with people who speak your own language but live far away can have a salutary effect on one’s connection to one’s native culture.

Furthermore, playing online casino games with people who speak an entirely different mother language and have a very different culture can be a small yet important step in making us all not only citizens of our countries but citizens of the world.

Languages can also be Revived

There is a long list of languages that are being revived or have already been revived as spoken languages.  Some, like Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Irish were never completely dead as spoken languages so they aren’t on this list but many more people in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland speak their ancient languages today than used to, even in the most recent past.

Hebrew was once the language of the Jewish people some 2000 years ago, fell out as a spoken language, but remained as the language of study and prayer.  As such, the language was stilted as a spoken language when a few people in Jerusalem tried to revive it as a spoken language in the 1890’s.  Today, Hebrew is a vibrant language to 9+ million people living in Israel.

People who were marginalized by colonialism are taking their languages back.  Some of these groups are the aborigines of Australia, people of isolated regions in Japan, the native Maori in New Zealand, several Native American languages, Catalonia, Cornish in southwestern England, and even native Hawaiian.

International Mother Language Day serves as an important reminder to schoolchildren and adults alike that their ancient, native languages are still important, can be modernized for the 21st century, can regain spoken status for many people whose ancestors spoke the language, and can be a powerful conduit for reviving ancient cultural customs and ties with one’s past.

Jackpot Capital Joins in Saluting Linguistic Diversity

We commend all languages, be they spoken by 100 people or fewer or by one billion people or more.  We provide games and as we said above, games are one way that people can communicate with each other.

So, we wish everyone a happy International Mother Language Day and happy gaming!

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