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Twitter @AsiaLangsOnline 2020

Beginning on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, a rotating roster of language activists from across Asia will become guest hosts of the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account. Coordinated by Rising Voices, the Digital Empowerment Foundation and the O Foundation, this social media campaign follows last year's campaign that took place within the context of the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 and will once again provide a space for diverse voices from across the region to tell stories of their experiences with language revitalization and how the internet is playing a role.

Throughout the rest of 2020, different activists will take weekly turns at @AsiaLangsOnline sharing their perspectives on what their language means to them and their communities. These activists are all working to promoting the use of their languages in new domains like the internet, which presents many opportunities and challenges. But there is also an important offline component to their activism related to long-standing histories and contemporary contexts that affect the vitality of Asian languages.

Similar initiatives using Twitter as a collaborative medium are underway in Latin America (@ActLenguas) and in Africa (@DigiAfricanLang), in Canada and the United States (@NativeLangsTech), but this project will focus on languages across Asia.

Response to calls for participation has been extremely positive, as the roster for the first several weeks has already been filled. We are also conducting outreach to invite others to take part. If you have a suggestion for someone that would make a good guest host, please contact us.


(Click on the host's name to read a Q&A blog post)

May 6-12, 2020

Zubair Torwali ( @zubairtorwali)

I am a researcher, author, activist, advocate for the minority languages of Pakistan based in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. Here I have been leading an organization, IBT (idara baraye taleem-o-taraqi i.e. institute for education and development, that works for the empowerment of the mountain communities of northern Pakistan through language and culture documentation, preservation, building literacies in these languages; producing and sharing knowledge among these communities. I founded the organization, IBT, in 2007 along with other youth of the Torwali community. I have written two books in English, numerous research articles, and hundreds of media articles on language preservation, education, language and education policies, human rights and environmental issues; and on conflict and peace.

May 13-19, 2020

Portrait of Ashwani Murmu, Santali language activist

R Ashwani Banjan Murmu ( @ashwanimurmu)

I am R. Ashwani Banjan Murmu. I am a contributor and admin at Santali Wikipedia and also a contributor and translation manager at Global Voices in Santali. I also run “Mission Olchiki-2025″ for Santali language at the Kuliana Block of Mayurbhanj, Odisha (India). Mission Olchiki 2025 is a campaign for literacy in Santali language with the time frame target of year 2025. As Santali language is an indigenous language and losing its significance, the campaign is an attempt to bring awareness among the Santali people about their language and culture. I am also a co-founder of the Ol Chiki Tech team, working for the promotion of Santali language in online platforms.

May 20-26, 2020

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

Tumi Tanakyuwan ( @TumiTanakyuwan)

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.

May 27-June 2, 2020

Language activist Biyanto Rebin

Biyanto Rebin ( @meenyo)

My name is Biyanto Rebin. I am a language and linguistics enthusiast. My language interests have been growing constantly since high school. I took Chinese studies in my undergraduate degree and several languages as my minor, including Italian. My language activism is strengthened by my contribution to Wikipedia, where I've been active on the Indonesian and Javanese editions since 2006. Besides Wikipedia, I also contribute to Wiktionary and Tatoeba to increase and enrich the Indonesian and Javanese entries.