Speakers of indigenous and minority languages around the world are struggling to keep their languages and cultures alive. More and more language groups are turning to the web as a tool for language revitalization, and as a result there are now thousands of people blogging and using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in their native language. These sites have allowed sometimes-scattered communities to connect and use their languages online in a natural way. Social media have also been important in engaging young people, who are the most important demographic in language revitalization efforts. Together we’re breaking down the idea that only global languages like English and French have a place online!
How to use IndigenousTweets.com
The primary aim of IndigenousTweets.com is to help build online language communities through Twitter. We hope that the site makes it easier for speakers of indigenous and minority languages to find each other in the vast sea of English, French, Spanish, and other global languages that dominate Twitter.
The main page lists all of our supported languages (35 as of the launch). Find your language in the table, click on the row, and you will be directed to a new page that lists (up to) the top 500 Twitter users in your language. For instance, here’s the page for Ojibwe/Anishinaabemowin. This is meant to be a kind of “menu” of people who tweet in your language whom you might want to follow on Twitter. If you click on someone in the table, it will open a new window or tab with their Twitter profile, so you can see some of their recent tweets and decide if you want to follow them or not. The tables are sortable by any of the columns; this is useful for example if you (like me) only want to follow people who tweet primarily in your language – just sort by the % column. Or you might be interested in the most popular tweeters in your language – in that case, sort by the “Followers” column.
Current list of languages (as of 4/13/11 – list is growing quickly):
Emiliàn e Rumagnòl
Tekoi er a Belau
(and two whose character sets didn’t copy so well)