UNESCO International Mother Language Day

The 21st of February is International Mother Language Day. UNESCO established this day in 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, as well as multilingualism.

On International Mother Language Day, RTÉ Archives takes a look back to 1967 and the first episode of 'Buntus Cainte' (Basic Conversation). 'Buntús Cainte was a series to help viewers learn the Irish language.

In this programme presenters Maire O'Neill and Aileen Geoghegan take viewers through some basic phrases about the weather. Illustrations are used alongside phrases such as, "Tá sé te" "It is hot".

Although the presenters address viewers in English and Irish they do not translate any of the phrases being taught into English. Subtitles are used to show the phrases in Irish.

Buntús Cainte was a series of brief instructional programmes aimed at beginners in Irish. The five minute programmes were broadcast each weekday evening and a compilation programme was broadcast on Sunday.

The Department of Education produced a booklet to assist viewers of the series and Gael Linn produced a record and audio tapes to compliment the series. 'Buntús Cainte' was aimed at beginners and adults with school going children who wanted to improve their Irish and be able to help them with their school work.

Buntús Cainte ran from 1967 to 1969.

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