Wikimedia Indigenous Languages

Wikimedia Indigenous Languages (WIL) is the coordinating body for the promotion and development of indigenous languages on Wikimedia projects.

Why is it important?

Languages are the pillars of cultures and the vehicles of oral traditions. They are an essential part of people’s identities and an important heritage to preserve. Each language is a unique way of thinking and structuring a view of the world. Each loss of a language represents the loss of centuries-old knowledge, heritage, and history for ever. Cultures are greatly weakened by the loss of their languages and often vanish with it or soon after.

According to UNESCO, 43% of the languages spoken in the world today are vulnerable or in danger of extinction. A language becomes vulnerable when its youth no longer learns it.

The role of Wikimedia Indigenous Languages is to support and encourage efforts to develop specific Wikimedia projects in small and endangered languages. It will serve as an international body to collect and share best practices, lessons learned, and methodology for developing small-languages Wikimedia projects and preserving endangered languages. It will offer support to people interested in developing initiatives and new projects. It will become the point of contact to set up cooperation with other organizations working towards the same goals, and it will actively seek such cooperation opportunities.