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State of the Internet's Languages 2020: Announcing selected contributions!

In response to our call for contributions and reflections on ‘Decolonising the Internet’s Languages’ in August, we are delighted to announce that we received 50 submissions, in over 38 languages! We are so overwhelmed and grateful for the interest and support of our many communities around the world; it demonstrates how critical this effort is for all of us. From all these extraordinary offerings, we have selected nine that we will invite and support the contributors to expand further.


Cross-posted from the Whose Knowledge? website: URL

Call for Contributions and Reflections: URL

Decolonizing the Internet's Languages


Thank you to all of you who wrote in: we would publish every one of your contributions if we could! Each of you highlighted unique aspects of the problem and possibility of the multilingual internet, and it was extremely difficult to select a few to include in the ‘State of the Internet’s Languages Report’. Whether your submission was selected or not, we hope you will continue to be part of this work with us, and that the report will reflect your thoughtful concerns and interests in a multi-lingual internet.

The nine selected contributions will be a significant aspect of the openly licensed State of the Internet’s Languages report to be published mid-2020. In different formats and languages, they span many kinds of language contexts across the world, from many different communities and perspectives. They will form part of a broader narrative combining data and experience, highlighting how limited the current language capacities of the internet are, and how much opportunity there is for making our knowledges available in our many languages.

A special thank you to the final contributors – we’ll be in touch shortly with more details. We’re looking forward to working with you as you develop your contributions and share your experiences!

The selected contributions are from:

  • Caddie Brain, Joel Liddle, Leigh Harris, Graham Wilfred

    As part of a broader movement to increase inclusion and diversity in emojis, Aboriginal people in Central Australia are creating Indigemoji, the first set of Australian Indigenous emojis delivered via a free app. Caddie, Joel, Leigh and Graham aim to describe how to reflect Aboriginal experiences online, to increase the accessibility of Arrernte language in the broader Australian lexicon, to position Arrernte knowledge on digital platforms for future generations of Arrentre speakers and learners, and to contribute more broadly to the decolonisation of the internet.

  • Claudia Soria

    Claudia will describe “The Digital Language Diversity Project” funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme. The project has surveyed the digital use and usability of four European minority languages: Basque, Breton, Karelian and Sardinian. It has also developed a number of instruments that can help speakers’ communities drive the digital life of their languages, in the form of a methodology named “digital language planning”.

  • Donald Flywell Malanga

    Donald will share his experiences conducting two panel discussions with elderly and ten young Ndali People in Chisitu Village based in Misuku Hills, Malawi. He aims to hear their stories and make sense of them relating to how Chindali could be spoken/expressed online, examine the barriers they face in sharing/expressing their language online, and unearth possible solutions to address such barriers.

  • Emna Mizouni

    Emna will interview African and Arab content creators and consumers to share their experiences in posting content in their own language and expose their cultures. She will reach out to different ethnicities from Africa to gather data on the reasons they use the “colonial languages” on the internet and the burdens they face, whether technical such as internet connectivity and accessibility, lack of devices, social or cultural barriers, etc.

  • Ishan Chakraborty

    Ishan will explore the experiences of individuals who identify themselves as both disabled and queer, and who are not visible online in Bengali. Online research papers and academic works in Bengali are significantly limited, and even more so in the case of works on marginalities and intersections. One of the most effective ways of making online material accessible to persons with visual disability is through audio material, and Ishan will explore some of these possibilities.

  • Joaquín Yescas Martínez

    Joaquin will be describing the free software, open technology initiatives and the sharing philosophy of “compartencia” in his community of Mixe and Zapotec peoples in Mexico. He will explore initiatives such as Xhidza Penguin School, an app to learn the language online, and learning workshops to look at new methodologies for sharing and using the language. It is not only a means of communication but it also encompasses a different way of understanding the world.

  • Kelly Foster

    Kelly will draw attention to the work being done to revitalise indigenous languages and the struggles to represent the Nation Languages of the Caribbean and its diasporas in structured data and on Wikipedia. She aims to have the native names of the islands, locations and indigenous peoples on Wikidata, labelled with their own language so she can generate a map of the Caribbean with as many native names as possible. But the language of the Taino people of the islands that are now called Jamaican, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Haiti has been labelled as extinct, as are the people, by European researchers. Though a victim of the first European genocide of the Caribbean, they live on in the tongues and blood of people who are more often racialised as Black and Latinx.

  • Paska Darmawan

    As a first-generation college student who did not understand English, Paska had difficulties in finding educational, inspiring content about LGBTQIA issues in their native language, let alone positive content about the local LGBTQIA community. They plan to share a mapping of available Indonesian digital LGBTQIA content, whether it be in the form of Wikipedia articles, websites, social media accounts, or any other online media.

  • Uda Deshpriya

    Uda will explore the lack of feminist content on the internet in Sinhala and Tamil. Mainstream human rights discussions take place in English and leaves out the majority of Sri Lankans. Women’s rights discourse remains even more centralized. Despite the fact that all primary criminal and civil courts work in local languages, statutes and decided cases are not available in Sinhala and Tamil, including Sri Lanka’s Constitution and its amendments. This extends to content creation through both text and art, with significant barriers of keyboard and input methods.



Puthiya Purayil Sneha

Sneha is a Programme Manager at CIS, and co-leads the researchers@work programme. She is engaged in a mapping of the emergent field of Digital Humanities in India, and is also interested in questions on the nature of textuality, reading, and writing practices in the digital sphere. She can be reached at sneha[at]cis-india[dot]org.