FROM learning a few words to communicate with Roma neighbours to finding out more about British Sign Language - the Bhasha Glasgow language festival has lots to offer lockdown learners.

Now in its third year, the event takes place online from February 21 to 27.

A celebration of the city’s many languages and the people who speak them, this year’s festival is being hosted by the Thriving Places Govanhill initiative.

The week is jam packed with free daily activities that will explore Glasgow’s linguistic heritage and the vital role of its multilingual citizens, including quizzes, interactive language sessions, talks, and a radio show.

As part of the festival, you can learn a language from local native speakers by joining the popular Govanhill Polyglot Sessions.

Each online event offers a taster of a specific language and they are open to anyone who’s curious to learn.

In a time when it is difficult to meet new people, Greater Govanhill Talks offer an opportunity for Glaswegians to mingle and make new connections through informal online conversations.

Participants will be paired up with people with a different native language to their own and guided by prompts to share and learn about other cultures and languages.

Govanhill Housing Association chairwoman Annie Macfarlane said she was thrilled the festival is happening virtually in Govanhill.

She added: "Pride in your mother tongue whether that be Scots, Slovak or Sinhala is something to celebrate.

"Not only do these events celebrate the languages and diversity of Govanhill, and wider Glasgow, but they also offer local people an opportunity to learn from and connect with each other; something that is particularly important right now."

A series of posters designed by local artists will brighten up windows of Govanhill to complement the online activities.

Eagle-eyed residents will be able to spot a series of temporary stencils with phrases in some of the city’s most common languages.

Dr. Tareq Abdullah, the Vice-president and Trustee of the Bangladesh Association Glasgow, said: “February 21 marks International Mother Language Day as initiated by UNESCO in 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

"It is so wonderful to see that other organisations are collaborating to carry forward what we started back in 2019.

"We are proud to see this festival expanding into a real asset for the city.”

For more information and to see the full timetable, search for Bhasha Glasgow Language Festival on Facebook or see

The festival first started in Bangladesh in honour of the people who fought for the recognition of the Bangla language in 1952.

Professor Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, said: "The gift to the world that is Mother Language Day from the Bangladeshi community, commemorates the language martyrs.

"This year the day will once again be marked in Scotland with the Glasgow Language Festival.

"It’s a day for us to pause and consider the many ways in which we might believe certain languages are of superior status and might not be attentive to the long and often painful effort it takes to learn another language, or to retain your mother language.

"It promises to be another feast and fitting tribute to those who are persecuted because of the language their mother spoke to them and taught them."