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Q&A: Meet Tumi Tanakyuwan, Thau language activist

Language activist Tumi Tanakyuwan, setting up a display of necklaces on the street.

Picture provided by Tumi Tanakyuwan.

Following last year's successful social media campaign celebrating linguistic diversity online throughout Asia, the collaborative project is continuing in 2020. Every week, a different language activist and advocate will be taking turns managing the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account to share their experiences, best practices, and lessons learned from their revitalization work promoting the use of their native languages, with a special focus on the role of the internet. This campaign is a collaboration between Rising Voices, the Digital Empowerment Foundation, and the O Foundation.

Each week, the upcoming host will answer several questions about their background and give a brief overview of their language. This Q&A is with Tumi Tanakyuwan (@TumiTanakyuwan) from Taiwan who will provide a sneak preview of what she will be discussing during her week as host.

Rising Voices (RV): Please tell us about yourself.

Tumi Tanakyuwan (TT): Hello everyone my name is Tumi, my tribe is Ita Thau tribe and we speak Thau language. I am learning this language from my father and teacher Hudun. My tribe started a language preservation plan in 2013, which was interrupted for a while, but in 2018 we restarted it. Now we have one full-time teacher and two full-time students learning the language and preparing to become Thau language teachers.

RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

TT: We share the vocabulary, some traditional stories and real life stories on Facebook. Offline, we have a radio broadcast in our language.

RV: What topics do you plan to focus on during the week that you’ll manage the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account?

TT: I want to share our traditional stories and [talk about] a traditional festival which is hosted in summer time.

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

TT: I want let people know about my ethnic group and our language, which is very beautiful and precious. I hope this year I can obtain an advanced certification in Thau language and become a Thau storyteller.

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