SOAS We Talk

To celebrate 100 years of SOAS in 2016, SOAS We Talk was proposed in collaboration with the SOAS World Language Institute. SOAS We Talk is for anyone who is passionate about language, culture and SOAS, and highlights the great diversity of the school.

As SOAS started its centenary celebrations, Language Documentation and Description students wanted to contribute to the festivities with a project of their own. SOAS We Talk was developed as a fully student-run project celebrating 100 years of diversity at SOAS by collecting, documenting, and sharing the languages spoken within the school. The goal was to capture the diversity at SOAS in as many languages, varieties, and dialects as possible using video recording and disseminating the data on our own YouTube channel and through a map visualisation. Videos were recorded of SOAS students, staff, alumni, and friends. The goal was to reach at least 100 languages but the project ended up with 119! Below are just a few of the highlights from the project:

  • The very first language in the project is Georgian spoken by Language Documentation and Description student Zurab (Note: there are subtitles!)
  • 100th language is British Sign Language by Lauren.
  • The very last language, the 119th language, is Tigrinya spoken by Sara:
  • Most students, alumni, and staff shared their language by talking about their experiences at SOAS, while others shared their language through poetry, or by giving us a glimpse into their lives while using their language:
  • Many friends wanted to wish SOAS a happy birthday.

All videos beautifully illustrate how linguistically and culturally diverse SOAS is which is exactly what the project wanted to achieve. If you like what you see, please also subscribe to our channel and share the videos. You can also follow us on Instagram @soaswetalk, and like our Facebook page!

If you didn’t have a chance to contribute a video, you can still participate by contributing subtitles! We are currently crowd sourcing the subtitles for the videos and it would be wonderful if you could spare 10-15 minutes subtitling a video or two. You can do this by signing in to your YouTube account (if you have a Gmail account, this is the same thing), and watching a video. Once the video opens, click the cog icon on the bottom right of the video. Select ‘Add subtitles/cc’, and you’ll be redirected to a screen where you can add subtitles. It is very quick and easy!

Finally, a big thank you is in order to everyone who participated and to everyone watching the contributions.

ありがとうございました, gracias, danke, a dupe, kiitos, terima kasih, mun gode, 謝謝 !

Celebrate Linguistic Diversity Online With the Mother Language Meme Challenge

Join the Mother Language Meme Challenge by creating a humorous or reflective internet meme in your native tongue. Starting today and running through February 21st, we invite you to take part in this fun online campaign to commemorate International Mother Language Day.

International Mother Language Day was founded to promote and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity around the world, with a special emphasis on indigenous, minority, heritage, and endangered languages. With the help of digital tools and the internet, there is now a unique space for expression and connecting with others also working to revitalize their mother tongue.

Co-organized by Rising Voices and our friends at the Living Tongues InstituteFirst Peoples’ Cultural CouncilIndigenous TweetsEndangered Languages ProjectFirst Languages Australia, and the Digital Language Diversity Project, as well as a number of global partners, the Mother Language Meme Challenge invites you to put your creativity and passion for languages to work by creating a meme in your mother language.

Meme in the Tének language from México. Created by Luís Flores.

Meme in the Tének language from México. Created by Luís Flores.

To take part, just follow the simple steps outlined on the Challenge’s website (, which includes finding an image, adding text and hashtags, including #MemeML, and sharing on your favorite social media platform. You will also find links to some free, web-based platforms to create and save your creations. In the month prior to International Mother Language Day 2017, we’ll be sharing, retweeting, and liking contributions from around the world and featuring some of our favorites here on Rising Voices.

If you are an organization, collective, project, or other group currently working on language revitalization around the world, we are looking for new partners to join us to promote this Challenge. We are also looking for others to help translate the site into more languages so that we can reach speakers of more languages. Please contact us for more information.

ELAR is proud to announce we will be partnering with Rising Voices,  Living Tongues InstituteFirst Peoples’ Cultural CouncilIndigenous TweetsEndangered Languages ProjectFirst Languages Australia, and the Digital Language Diversity Project for the Mother Language Meme Challenge.

This post originally appeared on the Rising Voices blog on 23rd Jan, 2017.