Focus on new information technologies for International Mother Language Day
UNESCO media release, 17 February 2011

PARIS, FRANCE: Half of the world’s 6,000 languages are endangered. International Mother Language Day, celebrated on 21 February, underlines the importance of preserving this cultural and linguistic wealth. The theme for this year – The information and communication technologies for the safeguarding and promotion of languages and linguistic diversity – highlights the new technologies’ enormous potential for safeguarding, documenting and promoting the use of mother languages. As UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova underlines in her message, each language “is a unique source of meaning for understanding, writing and expressing reality” and the international day is “a moment to recognize their importance and to mobilise for multilingualism and linguistic diversity.” “We must harness the power of progress to protect diverse visions of the world and to promote all sources of knowledge and forms of expression,” added the Director-General. Read the media release … Download the UNESCO celebration programme [pdf] …

Aboriginal community focuses on the young to keep language alive
Sunday Mail, 20 February 2011

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA: Scotdesco Aboriginal Community in Australia says the Wirangu language is “critically endangered” with just two remaining elders fluent in the native tongue, because too much emphasis is placed on Pitjantjatjara. Scotdesco community development officer Michelle Anderson said Scotdesco had embarked on a three-year project to preserve and regenerate the dying language. “Cultural instructors from Scotdesco are learning Wirangu from the elders and then teaching it to the students of Koonibba Aboriginal School through outdoor activities like fishing, reef walking and painting,” she said. Two other at-risk languages, Gugada and Mirning, are also taught by the instructors. Read the article …