Saturday, February 21, 2009

International Mother Language Day - February 21

Today is the "International Mother Language Day", which has been proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO ... to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. You may be aware of the issue from our recent post What is the world coming to?.

German radio added drama this morning by reporting that some German dialects such as Kölsch, Bairisch (Bavarian), and Letzeburgisch are in danger of extinction - a bit of an exaggeration, as you can check out on the "UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger" which lists eg Bavarian as merely "unsafe" (and let me tell you, if you don't know Bavarian, it is definitely unsafe to use it).

Anyway, our blog works quite well because we and you, dear readers and commenters, can communicate without major accidents in one common language, English (or so we hope). But this is not our native tongue, and maybe it isn't yours either.

Looking at the visitors statistics (see below) of Backreaction, it seems that more than 75% of all readers come from English-speaking countries - but this actually just reflects the "language settings" of the visiting web browsers. It doesn't say necessarily much about the mother language of the real people using these browsers (Bee eg has her settings on US-English).

So, to celebrate International Mother Language Day and to learn more about the background and diversity of our readers, we invite you to leave in the comments a few greetings in your actual mother tongue - and maybe you can add what language it actually is :-)
Willkommen bei "Backreaction" am Internationalen Tag der Muttersprache! Das ist heute die Gelegenheit, hier ein paar freundliche Worte in Eurer Muttersprache zu hinterlassen. Wir freuen uns auf Eure Kommentare!

(Don't understand German? Try the translation by Google!)


  1. I'm afraid I'm a rather boring native American English speaker. I grew up in Maine, however, which harbors a rather distinctive, some would say "quaint", dialect and non-rhotic accent, the so-called "Down East" variant of the New England accent. So, in the stereotypical manner of my "motherland", Hello out theyah all you folks from all ovah. It's wicked good to be heyah, and Oi want to thank Bee and Stefan foah bein' so smaht an' sharin' it with us.

  2. English-speaking USian, although I'm also fairly fluent in Spanish. At our small school in Colorado, the most linguistically diverse students are the Cora Indians who speak three languages--Cora (a Uto-Aztecan language), Spanish, and English. The Utes were native Coloradoans; the Aztecs were native Mexicans. Therefore, I make sure these particular students know that they have two proud heritages (although linguistically separated by several thousand years).

  3. -Salaam.
    -Halee shomaa chetoree?
    How are you?
    -Man chand mahi hast ke weblogetan ra mikhanam.
    I read your blog for a few months until now.
    -Tabrik migam, man vaaghean az mataleb-e-weblogetan lezat mibaram.
    Congratulation, I really enjoy from reading the contents and discussions here.

    (It is Persian (IRAN) but with English phonetic, that you can read : ). It is hard to leave such comment, is not it?)


  4. Hei Bee,
    Tuo lukijoiden kielitilasto tosiaan varmaan vain kertoo siita, etta missa
    maassa kukin sattuu olemaan talla hetkella "komennuksella", ei muuta.
    Language: Finnish, typed with american keyboard, thus missing umlauts.

  5. Duuuudes, your blog, it's like, totally awesome, ya know? Totally.


  6. Hola

    Us envio una salutació en català. Sóc un dels lectors que no trobareu a les vostres estadistiques: català, resident a Tailandia i navegador configurat en anglès.

    Felicitats pel vostre "bloc".

    --- Translation ---


    I send you my greetings in Catalan. I'm one of your readers that you will not find in your statistics: Catalan, living in Thailand, browser settings in English.

    Congratulations for your blog.

  7. Allo Bee ek Stefan,
    Mone decouvert zotte blog kan mo ti en vacance dans mo pays, ene ti zil dans l'ocean indien. Mo ene morisien, ek en ce moment mo ene etidiant physics a l'iniversite Munik. Mo frekente zotte blog aussi souvent ki mo capav, ek zotte ekrir bane kitsoz mari serier.
    Manz r li!

    Hello Bee and Stefan,
    I came across your blog while I was vacationing back in my homecountry, a small island in the Indian Ocean. I'm a Mauritian, and at the moment I'm a physics student at the University of Munich. I read you blog as often as I can, and you write great stuff.
    Keep it up!

    FYI: My mother tongue is the Mauritian Creole, a language native to about 1.3 million people. The Mauritian Creole is a language that started as a language of communication between the African slaves brought to the island by the French, and the French colonials. It is thus only a spoken language (the words I have written are only phonetically creole and would normally be read as French, and could be written differently by other natives).

    My apologies for a rather long comment. :)

  8. Najlepsze pozdrowienia dla twórców jednego z moich ulubionych blogów o fizyce i okolicach! (in Polish :)

  9. Apnara bhalo thakben.

    - ( I wish) you stay fine.

    I just realized that simple statements (like the one above) are not at all easy to translate, their meanings are so entangled in cultures.

    Anyways, the language is Bengali. In fact, the Mother Language day is a recognition of the Language Movement Day of Bangladesh. The history is briefly this : Pakistan was initially comprised of two geographically separated bits : East and West Pakistan. They shared the same religion (Islam) but spoke different languages (Urdu and Bengali). Then the govt decided that there must be one language in both countries: Urdu. So there was this movement in East Pakistan against it, and on one 21st February, a number protesting students were shot.

    East Pakistan is now the independent Bangladesh.

  10. בי וסטפן, קוראים אותכם גם בישראל.
    מת על הבלוג שלכם.

  11. Although International Mother Language Day is now, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO's campaign for the protection of endangered languages.

    The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008.

    The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September. or

  12. Γεια Bee και Stefan

    Το ιστολογιο σας ειναι ενδιαφερον και ενημερωτικο, το παρακολουθω συχνα. Συνεχιστε τη καλη δουλεια.

    Να περνατε καλα.

  13. Hi Bee,

    As you are probably aware my only spoken language is English, yet it doesn’t represent my lineage. My surname is one that originates from Alsace- Lorraine, where both French and German are spoken. My mother’s maiden name is German. One grandmother's maiden name is of a nature which assures that along with French there is also aboriginal North American in the mix. Also, from what I know about my family tree I can add Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian and English as well. So although my spoken language is limited, my gene pool is more of a global nature and as such would wish that along with the appreciation and importance of diversity, that in the end our commonalities be the most recognized as to be celebrated.



  14. Hallo Stefan und Bienche,
    ich kam durch das Thema doch in Sorge,
    ob es überhaupt noch normale "Tage"
    Diese Seite :
    hat mich diesbezüglich etwas beruhigt.
    Es könnte aber in absehbarer Zeit soweit sein, daß der "letzte freie Tag" anbricht :=(
    Insgesamt habe ich den Eindruck, daß bei den VN jeder Weltretterverein sein Plaisierchen bekommt.
    Wer auch immer den 10 Oktober initiiert hat, es hat nichts genützt...

  15. Hey, die Google-Übersetzung ist ja gar nicht mal soo schlecht, man versteht zumindest die Bedeutung.

    Und Kölsch soll eine bedrohte Sprache sein? Wenn ich dieser Tage den Fernseher anmache, würde ich es mir wünschen. Die Karnevalssendungen wären auf Hochdeutsch schon unerträglich genug.

    Beste Grüße!
    Das war... deutsch. (Die Sendung mit der Maus hat bei mir sicher mehr zur Vielsprachigkeit beigetragen als dieser Gedenktag)

  16. Vishva matra bhasha divas per shubh kamanayen!

    (Best wishes on World Mother Language Day)

    Hindi - the most spoken of India's fourteen official languages.

  17. Hej! Det här är en hälsning på svenska, som är mitt modersmål trots att jag bor i Cambridge i England. Jag är postdoktor här på DAMTP. Tack för en mycket trevlig och läsvärd blogg!


    Hi! This is a greeting in Swedish, which is my mother tongue despite the fact that I live in Cambridge, England. I am a postdoc here at DAMTP. Thanks for a very nice blog well worth reading!

  18. Hallo! Mini Mueterschprach isch Bärndütsch, und i vermuete, dass d Bee und der Stefan ganz guet verschtö, was i schribe, o we si's wahrschinlech komisch finge.
    I studiere Physik z Lausanne, im französischsprachige Teil vor Schwiz.
    Hi! My mother language is Berndeutsch (a german dialect from the region of Berne, Switzerland) and I guess Bee and Stefan understand quite well what I'm writing, even if they'll find it strange.
    I'm a student of physics in Lausanne, in the french-speaking part of Switzerland.

  19. Hello! My native language is English, aunque estudiaba español desde hace varios años, и я изучаю (?) русский язык.

    [My native language is English, although I've been studying Spanish for a few years, and I'm learning Russian.]

  20. F = dA + AA
    S = ∫ BF + φBB - φφBB

  21. Uncle Al is from Brooklyn, NY. If he posted in his native tongue your blog would be shut down. Consider his Webpage's disclaimer, third paragraph.

  22. Oh leck, do bin isch jo ganz platt! So viel Leit, die uhs e freindliche Gruss geschrieb hann! Unn wo die iwwerall herkomme! Die sen jo werklich aus de ganz Welt! Do kann isch jo gar net alles läse, wat die saan, griechisch, russisch, hebräisch... Awwer ganz viele Dank schon emol!


    Wow, I am impressed! So many people writing nice comments, and they come from all over the world! I can't even read what they say, in Greek, Russian, or Hebrew.. But thanks a lot for your comments!

    (Ok, actually, my mother language is some variety of the Moselle Franconian dialect, and when I speak, I never manage to hide that...)

    Thanks a lot for all your great comments and sharing your "origins"! It's really exciting to interact with people from such a wide variety of backgrounds!

    Cheers, Stefan

  23. Hi Nirmalya,

    thanks for the update on the origin of the "Mother Language Day!" Forcing people to use a language never seems to be a clever idea - Phil's ancestors from Alsace-Lorraine probably could tell also stories about this...

    Cheers, Stefan

  24. Hallo Stefan,

    Ich bitte Sie, meine Entschuldigung für verwirrend Autoren. Vielleicht sollte ich lernen, zu lesen, ein wenig besser in der Sprache, die ich zu verstehen.

    Mit besten Grüßen,


    Translation : Sorry I goofed :-)

  25. Namaskara.

    Nanna bhashay Kannada. Dakshina Bharthada nallakhu rajhyagalalli vondhu rajhyadha matrubhashay idhu. Sindh Nadhi indha samudhra pakka-pakka nidhaana bandhi Ivaagina Karnataka rajhaydha jaagavalli prajhay stapissi aa kaalanindha ivathu vorughu naavu idhethara bhashay galu mathaadtha bandhidheevi. Prapanchadhalli ananntha bhashaygalu thara ananntha jana nu bellili.



    My language is Kannada. It is the mother-tongue of one of the four states of Southern-India. Since the time when people from the Indus valley migrated along the coastlines to settle and establish a community in where is now the state of Karnataka, we've been speaking languages such as this one. Let the multitudes of people of the world grow along with the multitudes of the world's languages.


  26. Bonjour, je suis un peu en retard mais bon, j'espère que vous avez passer une belle journée de la langue maternelle, et continuer votre bon blog !

    That's obviously French, but you won't find me in your statistics since I'm also an English (Canada) user.

  27. I'm just another American English speaker.

    Mi primer idioma extranjero fue español, y lo hablo bastante flúido.

    Min andre (flytende) fremmedspråk var norsk. Det snakker jeg også ganske flytende (hei til svensken!).

    --- Translation of the non-English parts ---

    My first foreign language was Spanish, and I speak it rather fluently.

    My second (fluent) foreign language was Norwegian. I speak that fairly fluently as well (hi to the Swede!).

    from New Jersey, living in California

  28. ¡Saludos y felicitaciones por el blog! Lo leo seguido y generalmente aprendo algo nuevo. Mi primer idioma es el español, despues al venir a California, EEUU aprendi ingles, y, como Aaron, и я тоже изучaл русский язык. Ah, y mi navegador (Firefox) esta en ingles.

    (Note that I didn't bother with the accents, since it'd be too much work with my keyboard!)

    "Greetings and congrats on the blog! I read it often and I usually learn something new. My first language is Spanish, then I came to the US and learned English, and, like Aaron, also studied Russian. Ah, and the settings in my browser are in English."

  29. Greetings Bee,

    Ma langue maternelle est le Français de France, mais par métier je suis plus habitué à écrire en Anglais. Ceci ne veut pas dire que je domine l'Anglais, mais c'est pour moi la langue maternelle des échanges scientifiques (comme l'Allemand l'a été jusqu'à la seconde guerre mondiale et avant le Français). Il est important pour l'avancée des idées d'avoir une lingua universalis de communication, je connais encore des collègues universitaires Français ou Allemands dont les publications sont ignorées car écrites dans leur langue natale. That's a pity. I love US English anyway, this is a beautiful language (especially I like the song of Californian).

  30. (Although February 21 is already gone, I decided to still post this comment because I like the idea of this day very much and didn't see this post at time.)

    Дорогие Би и Штэфан,
    привет из Мюнхена! К сожалению, с того времени как я живу в германии я забываю русский язык всё больше и больше. Особенно, если приходеться общяться на немецком и английском день за днём и если изучаешь что-то, где общение не являетсья центральным аспектом.
    Так что... Поздравлаю вас с днём родного языка!

  31. Saluti dall'Italia, e scusate il ritardo.
    (greetings from Italy, and sorry for being late).

  32. Retingsgay ina ymay ativenay anguagelay, Eastay Ipgay Atinlay!
    Estbay, Anonymousay Igpay


    Eetingsgray ina ymay ativenay anguagelay, Estway Igpay Atinlay!
    Estbay, Anonymousay Igpay

    Greetings in my native language, Pig Latin!
    Best, Anonymous Pig

    PS. I've given you both the "East Pig Latin" and "West Pig Latin" variants.

  33. Desi intarziat, particip la cresterea diversitatii pe blog prin adaugarea unei fraze fara sens, traductibila cu Google Translate.
    That's in romanian, without diacritics.

  34. Sei que estou bastante atrasado mas não podia deixar de parabenizar Bee e Stefan, por este divertido e informativo blog, em Português! Talvez esta seja minha única chance :)

    Parabéns, meus amigos!

    Now I should translate it, right... well, well. First I may say that I am from Rio de Janeiro and we have a strong accent of Portuguese that is most perceptible in speech. I will do my best to try to say the same above as I would speak it:

    Sei ki tou baxtantx atrasadw maix nãum podjia dexá dji parabenizá Bee i Stefan, puh extxi djivehtxidw i infohmatxivw blógui, ĩ Pohtuguêx! Tauveix exta seja minha única chansi :)

    Parabeinx, meux amigwx!

    read "x" as english "sh", "ah" as a slighter german "ach" and trailing "w" as very subtle "u".


    I know I am quite late but I could not miss the chance to congratulate Bee and Stefan, for this fun and informative blog, in Portuguese! This may be my only chance :)

    Congratulations, my friends!


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