Laughing to Defend and Promote Minority Languages

How can give you any visibility at all to your minority language?

To preserve a minority language is to fight for cultural rights, acceptance, recognition. To do so, committed minority language advocates and organisations now take this struggle to the web. It is a serious issue but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the means need to be drab.

In November 1999, UNESCO announced that February 21st would become the International Mother Language Day and would promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity as well as multilingualism. The date was chosen in tribute to the 1952 Bengali Language Movement and its victims. It has been celebrated every year since 2000, every time with a different theme. My personal favourite was the theme of 2002 on linguistic diversity, with the motto ‘in the galaxy of languages, every word is a star‘.

In 2017 and 2018 I finally took part, through the organisation a Gallo expert, my father and I co-founded, the Académie du gallo. Thanks to Rising Voices, part of the Global Voices network with whom I volunteer, I created and shared memes in Gallo on Twitter, had a lot of fun connecting with speakers of other minoritized languages all over the world, and many a good laugh at everyone’s wonderful imagination and humour. Here is my little selection of these past 2 years of memes. It is far from complete of course! You can find more memes on the various social media involved: Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

(Trump meme in Gallo by me for @AcademieDuGallo : “Let’s make Gallo great again”)

Hawai’i (Hawaï), by @aloha_aina : “Do not set aside the teaching of oneʻs parents for there is life there”
Fulfude (Afrique de l’ouest) by @teddungal_com : “Courage is a weapon that doesn’t become blunt”.
Guernésiais (Guernsey Island) by @TheAdamClayton: “Please tell me more about how Guernesiais isn’t a real language.”
Odia (India) by @pattaprateek.
Acadian French (Canada) by @LangueAcadienne: “I’m going to have to work late again tonight. That red dot is harder to catch than expected.”
Nubian (Egypt/Sudan) by @NubiaInitiative. Nubian proverb pronounced Hotta Likka Meera.
Galician (Spain) by @amesanl: “When you’re in Galicia and don’t want to use Galician.”
Jerriais (Jersey Island) by @le_jerriais: “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will speak to you in Jerriais.”
Lakota (USA) by @GuillemBelmar: “One language is not enough.”
Gallo (France) by @AcademieDuGallo: “What do we care about English? We speak Gallo!”

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