Yet another 3Rs post, where I reuse, recycle, repurpose an old forgotten post; I searched my archives, dusted this one out and realized it is perfect for the International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated on February 21st annually.
What is Mother Language?
The term “mother tongue” or “mother language” refers to a person’s native language, that is, a language learned from birth. It is of course termed so because of the reasoning that this first language is what one learns from one’s mother. Other terms used are first language and dominant language, the language one speaks or understands best.
So what is your mother language? Your dominant language? Do you speak multiple languages? Do let me know.
In my case, the language I learned first was Tamil. We speak Tamil at home, and with family. Tamil is the official language of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. But given that I grew up in a different southern Indian state whose official language was different, and given the school I studied at, the languages I learned at school (to read, write, and speak) were English, Hindi, and Kannada. I finally attempted to read and write my mother tongue Tamil while in high school, but college and life put a hold on it. Today, I can manage to read (and less efficiently, write) at the pace of the very beginning learner; and I recently started attempting to read and write Tamil again.
And while I might be most proficient (read, write, and speak) in English if I compare the four languages I do know, I still consider Tamil to be my mother tongue. The definite emotional attachment I have to the language makes it so.
My book reviews are “as is” from the original posting over a decade ago, when the posts I published were never announced to the world, other than me hitting a publish button. So I am working on that now for some of the posts. Some require more edits and rework, while others, like this one, include additional sections (like this section and the one above as examples) along with minimal formatting edits.
While these books were read a long time ago, I do believe they are as relevant today as they were then, and worth a read.
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Chitchat: Celebrating the World’s Languages
Chitchat: Celebrating the World’s Languages /Jude Isabella/ Kids Can Press Pub Date Sep 1 2013
This book is a treasure-trove of information. It contains wonderful nuggets of information presented just right – each chapter is the perfect length and includes interesting facts highlighted which will prompt kids to continue reading.
Whether you want to learn about how and why language evolved only in
humans or new, old, made-up, written, unwritten, unspoken dying languages, this book has got it all! Of course, you have heard that being multilingual makes one smarter but did you know that the cries of newborns sound different depending on the language their mothers spoke? Or that a netymologist is one who uses the internet to track the origin of words and phrases?
Read this book and you will learn this and a whole lot more. My little girl found the illustrations funny, the facts wonderful while my son thought the illustrations were somewhat cool, and he loved the book. This is a book for everyone who loves language, an ideal gift for the teacher, the student, the reader, the writer, well, you get it, just about everyone.
Rating: A Reread Level: 5/5 Reading Level: 10+
Don’t Dangle your Participle Vanita Oelschlager
Pub Date May 1 2014
Teaching young kids using funny examples that are accompanied by comical illustrations – that is what this book accomplishes. I think I am dangling my participle here! 🙂
This book uses illustrations and short, simple sentences to teach the proper use of participles. It shows how the misplaced participle can create confusion using the fun and silly examples in the book. Young children
will enjoy the book from start to finish. This will also prompt them to come up with similar sentences themselves.
Rating: B+ Reading Level: 6-10 years Reread Level: 4/5
Reading these two books around the same time showed me how important
word placement is in two different ways. Different languages use different word placement/word order rules and following these rules incorrectly or following the rules of one language in another can cause chaotic results.
Disclaimer: Thanks to NetGalley for providing the ecopy of these books for review. These are my honest opinions of the books.
What About Missing Languages?
You might be wondering about why the title includes ‘missing languages.’ I almost wondered as well, since this is a repurposed post 🙂
I did add the word Mother Language to the title now. But I realized that the book Chitchat also talks about disappearing languages (and even some that have disappeared, or gone missing).
One of the reasons behind the creation of the International Mother Language Day is “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. Learn more about this here.
Did you know that a language disappears (or dies) every two weeks? That is certainly sad, and I believe that each of us should play our part in preserving the rich multilingual heritage of our world. Here is one National Geographic article that talks about an effort to do so. I loved reading it, and so will you.
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read these featured books? Or books specific to the mother language? Or books in your mother language? Do let me know.