You might not be aware, but 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous languages (IYIL2019).

 But what does this mean?

The idea of an international year is to raise awareness about a topic or theme that is of global interest or concern, inciting action to be taken all around the world. This year, the topic that is being promoted is Indigenous language. This is such an important topic when you consider that around 40% of the estimated 6,700 languages that still exist in the world are in danger of disappearing.

What are the main aims?

IYIL2019 has 3 main aims: 

SUPPORT: Supporting the revitalisation and maintenance of indigenous languages through: creation of more materials and content and a wider range of services, using language, information and communications technologies

ACCESS: Preserving indigenous languages, creating access to education, information and knowledge in and about indigenous languages for indigenous children, young people and adults, improving the data collection and sharing of information.

PROMOTION: Mainstreaming the knowledge areas and values of indigenous peoples and cultures within broader sociocultural, economic and political domains, as well as cultural practices such as traditional sports and games

 Why do we need to protect indigenous languages?

 According to the IYIL2019 website, the five most important factors to consider in the fight to preserve indigenous languages are as follows:

• Knowledge: unique systems of knowledge and understanding of the world.

• Peace: sustainable development, investment, pace building and reconciliation

• Rights: fundamental human rights and freedoms for indigenous peoples

• Inclusion: Social inclusiveness, literacy, poverty reduction and international cooperation

• Diversity: Cultural values, diversity and heritage.

 What will IYIL2019 do?

 IYIL2019 will promote indigenous languages in these five key areas:

1. Increasing understanding, reconciliation and international cooperation.

 2. Creation of favourable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices with regards to indigenous languages.

 3. Integration of indigenous languages into standard setting.

 4. Empowerment through capacity building.

 5. Growth and development through elaboration of new knowledge.

 But how will they do this? 

You can read the detailed action plan on their website by clicking HERE

 What are ITL doing to celebrate IYIL2019? 

We will be writing monthly blogs on indigenous languages, as well as social media postings, all aimed at raising awareness and focusing global attention on the critical risks that threaten indigenous languages, to help improve the chances of survival for minority languages, as well as help improve the lives of those who speak them.

Makes sure you check out the IYIL2019 website (linked below) to see if there is anything you can do to promote and protect indigenous languages, and look out for a new blog post coming later this month that will discuss the ‘Australia Day’ controversey in relation to indigenous people.

For more information on the International Year of Indigenous Languages

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