Mother Tongue Language

Mother Tongue Languages Are Alive and Well at Birney Elementary

“The old people must start talking and the young people must start listening.”

—Thomas Banyacya, Hopi

“Losing the language means losing the culture. We need to know who we are because it makes a difference in who our children are.”

—Dottie LeBeau

“The most important thing to me is to teach the children, so that our culture never dies.”

—Blackhawk SanCarlos, Mohawk and Apache

“You’ve got to know your language to understand your culture.”

—Beatrice Taylor, Ojibwe

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." 

—Nelson Mandela


Amharic, Arabic, Bulgarian, Dari, French, Greek, Haitain Creole, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Kumeyaay (Yuman language family),  Navajo (Na - Dine language family), Oromo, Pashto, Portuguese, Russian, Tigrinya, Tagalog, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese are some of the many languages spoken by families and staff at Birney Elementary.

The Importance of Home Language Series - Resources in English, Arabic, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian Creole and Russian

What languages are spoken in your Birney Bee home?  Languages must be maintained and passed on to stay alive. What can you do to share your language alive and thriving?

Mother Tongue Language Challenge - Create and Share

Birney families,

1) You're invited to create a video to teach words and key phrases in your mother-tongue language.

2) Create a video that includes the following:

  • Name of the language
  • Greetings
  • Colors
  • Numbers 1-2
  • Extension: Answer why language learning is important

3) Save in you-tube. Make sure it's set for public view. 

4) Send video to [email protected]. In body of email, include contact information for the adult submitting the video, student name, teacher's name, language being taught


NOTE: By submitting video you are giving permission for us to consider the video for inclusion on our webpage. Video should only have faces and images from the family that is submitting video. Respect copyright rules. 

Your videos will be previewed for appropriate content by the English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) before posting on this site. 

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