When the United Nations proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the team of SANA 2019 decided that it would be relevant to collect and share best practices pertaining to the preservation and revitalization of Finno-Ugric languages. Grassroot initiatives which we present in this publication, have been conceived and implemented by people from different walks of life: educators, mass media professionals, artists, IT specialists and local community enthusiasts. What explains their success? How have they organized their work? What are takeaways that others can use? These are questions that we tried to answer.
The materials published herein are intended to build awareness of best grassroot practices applied by Finno-Ugric language activists. The collection of cases is a Finno-Ugric contribution to the International Year of Indigenous Languages and an instrument to support language activism worldwide and among Finno-Ugric peoples in particular. Research shows that, though quite difficult to implement, local initiatives have a positive impact on the preservation and revitalization of languages. We sincerely hope that this project will give optimism and inspiration to those who search for ways to revitalize, maintain and develop native tongues. The reported Finno-Ugric practices are stories of success which rest upon organizers’ internal motivation, positive mindset and high energy, as well as capability not only to advocate an idea, but also to engage others by communicating how this work can add to the sustainable development of languages.
This project is distinguished by its case-study methodology, meaning that it reviews real-life examples of language revival and preservation and reflects on used methods, including novel ones.
Altogether, the online publication includes 22 case studies from Finno-Ugric regions of Russia, Estonia and Latvia. Case studies represent a wide range of community-based language initiatives: language nests, social media initiatives, innovative language learning aids for children, promoting indigenous languages through arts (including cinematography and comics) and much more.
All articles are personalized, as any initiative owns its success to good will and hard work of an individual or a team. The publication can be of interest to both experts and the general public.
Publication is available at www.sana2019.ee
About SANA 2019
The project “Civil Society Network for Preserving and Revitalizing Indigenous Languages” unites organisations for preserving and revitalizing indigenous languages in the Baltic Sea Region and supports the goals of the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The project will partly overlap with the UN-proclaimed International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, to the implementation of which project partners will provide substantive contributions as well as learn from worldwide good practices. The project brings together the following 7 partner organisations: Association “ECHO” (Karelia) as the lead partner, Centre of Support and Public Diplomacy of Indigenous Peoples “Young Karelia” , the Karelian Language House (Republic of Karelia), the Community of the Small-Numbered Izhorian People (Shoikula), Centre for Development of Indigenous Peoples “URALIC” and Seto Cultural Fund (Estonia) and the Saami civil society organisation “Giellabalggis” (Finland). The project is funded by the Baltic Sea NGO programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers.