On the 21st February, Miss Grant’s assembly was all about International Mother Language Day.
We enjoy celebrating multilingualism and cultural diversity here at Nettlesworth Primary School so we started by sharing experiences of the children in our school who speak a language, other than English. The children were surprised at how many different languages that we had within our school; Punjabi, French, Italian, Mandarian and English. In our teams we worked together to name as many different languages as possible and then shared them with one another learning how to say ‘Hello’ around the world, “Guten Tag, Ni hao, Jambo, God dag, Buenas dias” and many more.
Green team noticed this linked closely to the UNCRC Article number 20, ‘Every child has the right to be looked after properly by people who respect their religion, culture and language.’
We ended with a wonderful poem called My Mother’s Tongue by Densia Vitova:
My tongue is my mother’s tongue.
My language is as sharp and thick as hers.
I borrow her words, heat them up
in the furnace of my mouth and turn them
into heart-shaped shards of glass.
My heart is my mother’s heart.
I collect raindrops in buckets and tears
from peeling onion skins in my open hands
while in kitchen my mother makes
sizzling letters on paper.
My hands are my mother’s hands.
Though the geography of her language is cold
every winter those heavy snowfalls
melt on the tip of her tongue, becoming
curse words as we talk blood, fire and men.
My lips are my mother’s lips.
And when I burn her syllables fall out cool as rain.
While she licks off the salt on my cheeks
my own tongue flutters between my teeth
like a wild bird in a cage refusing to leave.
I will always speak in my mother’s tears.
Once I have a daughter I will pass onto her
that old scarred tongue, serve it
on a silver plate with a note
saying: ‘Your language didn’t just grow
from a seed. It’s only here
after all your mothers chewed on the bitter
and the sweet, moulding
their tears into a song.’
*UNCRC Article 20