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Student-led initiative promoting multilingualism to launch official website

18 March 2014

Postgraduate students from SOAS, University of London, are set to launch Language Landscape, www.languagelandscape.org, an interactive website to document and celebrate language diversity, at an event later this month.

Taking place on 24 March in the Brunei Building, SOAS from 6pm – 9pm, the launch event will promote multilingualism and lesser spoken languages through an interactive web-based map to represent where languages are spoken.

All registered users of the Language Landscape website can make contributions to the site by uploading audio recordings of languages and tagging them on the map at the place where the recording was made.

Language Landscape: Outreach Projects

Co-director Sandy Ritchie said: “Such a representation of languages helps to raise awareness of language diversity, and could affect the creation of policies regarding support for minority and endangered languages.”

In addition to its online presence, the Language Landscape team also runs outreach projects with schools and communities. Their most recent project involved working together with Year 8 students from Bow School in East London, to increase awareness of the importance of languages, offering school children the opportunity to reconnect with the languages spoken by their parents or grandparents.  

Clare Roberts, a French teacher from Bow School, said: “By using the Language Landscape website as the central tool of our workshops, we helped the students to create their own projects and recordings, raising their awareness of the language diversity around them and the advantages of being multilingual.

“Language Landscape has been responsible for making my pupils proud of where they come from and who they are, which I think will be invaluable for them as they continue their education, facing all of the challenges which inner-city pupils face.”

 East-end school boys shown value of their own multilingualism

Pupils at Bow School explore language documentation, multilingualism, language endangerment and language diversity through The Language Landscape project. Photo credit: Ebany Dohle.

The new version of the Language Landscape website has been developed with the kind support of Google Earth Outreach, the SOAS Alumni & Friends Fund, and the UnLtd and HEFCE and HEI Initiative/ SOAS Student Enterprise Fund, which supports student-led social enterprise. It is a not-for-profit organisation. The event is public and all are very welcome!