Is the term, “mother language” dated?

Most children grow up in traditional families – but then again what is a traditional family? Who decides and who defines? There are single parents, there mother language internationalare adoptive parents, there are blended marriages, list goes on. February 21 is designated as the International Mother Language Day by the UN. Recently a bill was introduced in the US Congress to recognize the same. What does exactly “mother language” refer to? Is it the “language” the primary caregiver of an infant speaks and so that it is the first language the child picks up?  When two males raise a child together, what is the “mother language”? OR when a single father raises a child, what is the “mother language”? How will the child feel who is raised by two males or a single father as to what is his “mother language” with NO mother around?

It’s 2014 and it is disconcerting to see that an organization like UN which on one hand promotes gay rights meaning gays can be loving parents BUT also promotes “mother” language day which is a contradiction. In 2014, it is disconcerting to see language like “mother language” being used in legal bills because it can have unintended consequences like the lack of laws for IVF children and families based on biology and gender.

No one is against the multiculturalism and the intent the International “mother language” is trying to promote. But it is the words which are being used in 2014 is discriminating rights of others. Laws have far reaching consequences and the language used has to be practical and equal. Should we call it “primary caregiver language” day or “father language day” or “blended family language day” or ….? We may not know the right answer right away but if we put our minds into it, we can certainly come up with wordings which are INCLUSIVE and not derogatory. Maybe “Language Day” or “Parent Language Day” or “Primary Language Day”. Let us get back to the business of celebrating the multiculturalism and the rich, different languages without offending anyone and being more practical with the changing world around us.

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