Language forms the heart and soul of communication, traditions, social integration, and education. Language also plays a vital role in representing various cultures and traditions, as well as capturing the history of a community. There are more than 6000 languages spoken in the world, but, at this very moment, many of these languages are disappearing in part due to the lack of a digital footprint, language resources and a lack of data captured for the development of these languages.
The United Nations has declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) and it is time to celebrate languages and the sacred values they keep. The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) has joined the movement and is very excited for the year to come. At SADiLaR’s core is the development of the South African languages as we pool language resources and computational tools to ensure that our languages remain relevant in the digital age.
The IY2019 forms the perfect platform for SADiLaR to venture forward with awareness campaigns dedicated to the official languages of South Africa and their development. The Centre is planning on celebrating the 11 official languages of South Africa by assigning each language to a month of the year. SADiLaR plans to host collaborative events, such as workshops and colloquiums, at various universities in South Africa to share ideas and take action in creating awareness of our languages and in working on the development of our languages and language resources.
This is an invitation to anyone and everyone to join us on our adventure to celebrate the IY2019. Please join our social media pages for updates on events and feel free to contact us if you have any language-related news you want to share, or join us in creating language-related events.
Let us stand together and make IY2019 a year to remember in South Africa, but more than that, let us make it count for the sake of our languages!
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