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Today is the International Day of Native Language proclaimed by the 30th UNESCO General Conference in November, 1999

It was proclaimed with the aim to preserve and develop vanishing languages of small nations and nationalities. Languages are the most effective mean to preserve and develop our material and spiritual heritage. All measures that are taken to popularize native languages favour not only language diversity and education but also understanding linguistic and culture traditions in the whole world and strengthening solidarity based on mutual understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

Today people of the world speak more than 6 000 languages. 95% of them are used by 4% of the planet population. Part of them have writing, other do not have. Different languages use different forms of writing, culture peculiarities of different nations are connected with each of them. More than a half of languages existing in the world are on the verge of vanishing. According to the UNESCO data every month two languages vanish.

For preserving native languages the UN experts propose to use them in school education combined with official language.

Belarus is polyethnic state in which representatives of more than 100 nationalities live: Belarusians, Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, and also Czechs, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Latvians, Jews, Tatars, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Koreans, Germans, Georgians, Moldavians, Gipsies and others. According to the data of latest population census carried out in February, 2000 73,7% of Belarus citizens calls the Belarusian language as native one; the Russian language – 24,1%. And 36,7% of citizens calls the Belarusian language as a language to speak, and the Russian language – 62,8%.

Information from BELTA

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