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15 July 2015

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UNESCO Experts Survey Hunan for Language Resource Protection

2017-12-06 Download Print

A five-person UNESCO delegation surveyed Hunan recently for language resource protection. Ms. Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg, UNESCO’s World Atlas of Language programme specialist working at UNESCO Communication and Information Sector, spoke highly of Hunan governmental and nongovernment efforts in protecting local languages. She suggested to use the internet to enhance the work.

Buddeberg visited Jiangyong Nvshu (women's script) Museum, and Yuelu Academy in Changsha, and watched performances of Dong songs from the Langshan Mountain, and Qidong Fisherman’s Drum. She spoke with experts from Hunan’s language protection program, and learned about Hunan’s language protection progress.

Hunan launched its language protection program in 2015 and has founded a provincial Language Resource Protection Center. The plan is to finish surveys and data collection in the 99 dialect regions around the province within five years. In 2015 and 2017, Hunan had more state-approved language protection projects than any province in China, with 21 in 2015 and 28 in 2017.

Presently, there are several programs, including: building a language culture museum; producing text and audio-visual products of Hunan language resources and dialects; and, opening online platforms, such as website, APP, and WeChat, to display Hunan’s language protection achievements.

Buddeberg praised Hunan’s language resource protection. She related that, there are a total of around 6,700 languages in the world, of these 1,720 have less than 10,000 speakers, and 2,680 are in danger. China has the most varied richest language resources in the world. She hoped more Chinese universities and institutions would join with UNESCO in language resource protection, and contribute to linguistic diversity protection in China. She suggested setting up a nationwide language resource protection network, and using the internet to protect language resources.

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Translator: Pang Yuehui

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