Languages in Richmond for International Mother Language Day

A language disappears every two weeks along with its “entire cultural and intellectual heritage” causing a threat to linguistic diversity, according to the United Nations.

For the 21st year, the U.N. is celebrating International Mother Language Day on Feb. 21.

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For Richmond, this is especially poignant because two-thirds of the population speaks something other than English as their first language.

Cantonese is spoken by 21.9 per cent of Richmondites as their first language, with 20 per cent speaking Mandarin as a mother tongue.

There are at least 19 other languages that are listed as mother languages in Richmond.

Diversity in language is something the U.N. has been celebrating since 2000.

The day was announced globally to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

As of 2019, there is an estimate of 6,000 languages spoken in the world where at least 43 per cent of these languages are endangered.

Language is not only for communication, according to the U.N., but to also preserve traditional knowledge and cultures.

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