Friday, 15 February 2008

International Year of Languages

This year has been proclaimed the UNESCO International Year of Languages, and there is a wonderful piece by Michael Clyne in The Age recently to tell us why. Michael is the author of many books but, for libraries, most notably of Multilingual Australia (1982), which has a great coverage of the contribution of libraries to achieving a multilingual society.

Another great contribution has been made by the Open Road Conferences. The 4th Open Road Conference is coming up soon, and is Open Road 2008: Multilingualism and the Information Society. Like its predecessors, it is run by Vicnet, and provides a forum to discuss and showcase innovative ICT developments in this area. It is on 15-16 May at the State Library of Victoria Conference Centre, and you can find out how to register and what is on here. These conferences have been a great means of bringing together technology and language issues, and the Open Road website is invaluable.

The International Year of Languages has as a major goal celebrating and maintaining language diversity; the IYL is being launched next week (21 February) on International Mother Language Day. Within Australia, an interesting place to go is the Transient Languages and Cultures blog, which comes out of the PARADISEC project to document endangered languages. Australia is, of course, famous for its endangered languages. Something to be sorry about, too.