Sunday, 21 February 2010


“He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today is International Mother Language Day. This day was proclaimed by UNESCO's General Conference in November 1999. The International Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Languages are the most powerful agents of preserving and developing our heritage, both tangible and intangible. Every effort that promotes the preservation and dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

For today’s Art Sunday, what better painting of a mother and child, which illustrates the concept of mother tongue so well. It is from our mother that we learn our first words, and it is that language we hold dearest to our heart, should we learn to speak more during our life…

The painting is by Léon Bazile Perrault, (1832-1908) a painter of genre, history, religion and portrait. He stands in peril of not being remembered as distinctively as his successes might merit. In symbolic genre, he is unmatched, and in portrait so masterly, that his place in those arts is foremost.


  1. Perhaps Mother Language Day is as good a day as any to announce that the first ever text book in Welsh designed to teach the international language Esperanto has just been published. The Mini-Cwrs is a 36 page guide to Esperanto, consisting of ten lessons, some reading exercises and a vocabulary. The man behind the new booklet is Harry Barron of Machynlleth.

    Esperanto is a language introduced in 1887 by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof after years of development. He proposed Esperanto as a second language that would allow people who speak different native languages to communicate, yet at the same time retain their own languages and cultural identities. Esperanto doesn't replace anyone's language but simply serves as a common language. The first tiny guide to the language was published in 1910, and a two-way dictionary in Esperanto and Welsh was published in 1985.

    Mini-Cwrs Esperanto is available for £1.50 plus postage from Esperanto Federation of Wales, 8 Vardre View, Deganwy, CONWY, LL31 9TE, Wales, U.K.

  2. A very beautiful painting to celebrate a very important international day!
    Vive la Journée internationale de la langue maternelle!