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21 February, International Mother Language Day

Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages, which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures sustainably. However, due to the processes of globalisation, linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened by the disappearance of more and more languages. As UNESCO warns, every two weeks a language disappears and takes with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are in danger of extinction and only a few hundred have a place in education systems and the public domain.

This is why, since its adoption in 1999 at a UNESCO General Conference, International Mother Language Day has been celebrated every 21 February to protect and promote linguistic and cultural diversity. On this day, a theme is set each year to develop and work around. For 2024, the theme focuses on multilingual education policies and is "Multilingual education: a pillar of intergenerational learning", as a crucial tool for inclusive education and the preservation of indigenous languages. Multilingual education not only promotes inclusive societies but also helps to preserve non-dominant, minority and indigenous languages.

We, at Libros de las Malas Compañías, want to give this day the prominence it deserves and highlight the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity. As a publishing house committed to promoting reading and access to education, we firmly believe that linguistic diversity enriches our lives and helps us to better understand and appreciate the richness of humanity. For this reason, we have collaborated with authors from different languages, recovering some of their folktales.

The Beauty of the Earth is a collection of 20th-century Albanian folktales that tries to preserve their original narrative style. These tales offer a glimpse into the mythical and magical universe of Albania, with influences from both domestic and foreign traditions. Similarly, the anthology Norwegian Tales collects both folktales and prints by leading Scandinavian painters. These tales offer a window into Norwegian folklore and culture at a time of political transition. The Pea Giant: And Other Tales from Ukraine and Romanian Wonderful Tales are other books featuring folktales from their respective countries and cultures.

In addition, some of the books in the Black Series collection, such as The Book of the Jungle of the Baka Pygmies, collected in Cameroon, or The Dragon that Ate the Sun, collected in Senegal, have been collected in their native language, translated into French and then into Spanish and English. Audios of these stories in their original languages can also be found on our website.

Finally, this publishing house also organises events and activities that promote multilingualism and the appreciation of other languages. The exhibition of The Tales of the Hedgehog and Other Stories of Saharan Women, for example, is a journey to the Tindouf camps, where the Saharawis, displaced from their homes by an illegal occupation, have been living for more than 40 years. This book aims to make these forgotten people and their rich oral literature visible.

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Feb 27

 I always walk away from reading this blog feeling more informed and enlightened. blob opera

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