Mother Language Day

February 21st, 2022

This fantastic day is celebrated on the 21st of February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism. 

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)in November 1999. UNESCO believes education based on the first language or mother tongue must be from the early years.

What is your mother language?

My mother language is Slovakian and Hungarian. Even though I don’t speak Hungarian too well anymore, I still can fully understand it. How come? I am from a bilingual family, so all my family talked to me in both languages from birth. But living in Slovakia, going to Slovak schools, having Slovak-speaking friends made me somehow select one language over the other. 

What about dogs? Do our doggies have their mother language?

Dogs’ mother language is barking and of course, the body language they use to communicate. When researching for this blog, I found some studies that a dog’s brain cannot distinguish words that differ by a single speech sound, such as “sit” versus “set”. This makes dogs similar to human infants, who can’t distinguish between words with similar sounds. Dogs can understand commands in many languages. They can learn any language you throw at them. This shows how much dogs are tuned to us humans.

Dogs use both the right and left sides of the brain. They listen to our tone and body language. They combine this data to understand us.

Just for a laugh:

Researching for this blog was real fun! I learned that dog’s word for “Hi” is “woof” pronounced “Wuff” and sometimes “Wruff” depending on the regional dialect. Facing your dog, say “Woof” as energetically and friendly as possible. The tone of your voice is critical as similar-sounding “Wueuf” means Back off! This is my food! 

I also asked Jitka how she speaks to her dogs. Her reply was mainly in English, and on rare occasions, usually, when they are extra mischievous or make her angry, she speaks to them, Slovak. She never mentioned the ‘dog language. Maybe she is still working on her pronunciation. 

Not sure how to say ‘Have a great day ‘in dogs’ language, but in Slovak, it is: Prajem Vam pekny den. 

So, have a great day!

Bea xx


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