As part of a new social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online throughout Asia, every week a different language activist and advocate will be taking turns managing the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of their native languages. 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 will give a brief overview of their language. This Q&A is with Sanjib Chaudhary (@sankuchy) who provides a sneak preview of what he'll be discussing during his week as host.
Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.
A chemical engineer by training and a communications specialist by profession, I'm Nepal author for Global Voices and manage the Global Voices Nepali Lingua. I run a blog “Voice of Tharus” which talks about culture, tradition and history of Tharus, the fourth largest ethnic group in Nepal. I'm an advocate of revitalising the vanishing languages and have been involved in projects to revive them.
RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?
I speak Eastern Tharu which is spoken by approximately 250,000 people. Currently, an online dictionary has been published which includes major words from the language. However, there's much more to be done – the collection and digitisation of Eastern Tharu literature and compilation of grammar still needs to be done.
RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account?
I'm planning to talk about some interesting words, phrases and idioms that are unique in Eastern Tharu language. I'd also tweet about the status and things to be done to revitalise the language
RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?
Since most of the youngsters are found online, revitalising the language through online platforms is the need of the moment. I hope the young generation will realise the importance of saving their vernacular and support the movement.