Main»Home Page

Home Page

Une page en français / Una página en español

Support for IYL 2008

This webpage was originally set up as a temporary space for gathering information on strategies and methods for supporting the International Year of Languages (IYL), with an eye to establishing a more elaborate web presence. It ultimately served as a gateway to information about the IYL, complementing the main portal page  hosted by UNESCO. The UN website also featured a page  on IYL, and diverse other organizations had smaller online presentations.

The official launch of IYL was Feb. 21, 2008, International Mother Language Day. Other occasions for observance of IYL: World Poetry Day, Mar. 21; World Book and Copyright Day , Apr. 23; Symposium on Linguistic Rights  in Geneva, Apr. 24. On International Day of the World's Indigenous People, Aug. 9, there was particular attention to the issue of indigenous and endangered languages. European Day of Languages  was Sep. 26. IYL was officially closed on Feb. 20, 2009 on the eve of the 10th International Mother Language Day.

Comments? email to: dzosborn at gmail dot com


1. Background of IYL

The year 2008 was declared the IYL by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution adopted on 16 May 2007. UNESCO is the UN agency responsible for coordinating activities of the IYL.

1.1 The resolution and official announcement

1.2 Other official documents and statements

1.3 Analysis

1.4 Other reference

Can you write a Wikipedia  article on IYL for
a language edition that does not yet have one?

2. Activities & projects

2.1 Official

2.2 Public (diverse)

- Online

- Conferences, workshops, and seminars

- Competitions

2.3 Publications

Selected articles and special issues of journals or magazines on language during IYL 2008:

2.4 Mention in blogs

A page on blogging IYL has links to a number of blogs and sites with mention of IYL. A few mention projects.

2.5 Ongoing

It is recognized that a lot of important work relating to languages is ongoing and not contingent on a special observance. One role of the year can be to highlight that work, and one thing people involved in that work can do is mention the year (see Approaches..., below).

3. Approaches to supporting the IYL

How can organizations and individuals with interest in the goals of IYL best do so? This is the principal focus of this set of webpages. See the Overview of issues.

Some perspectives include:

4. Other "Years"

4.1 UN "Years" for 2008

In addition to IYL, the following have also been designated by the U.N. for this year:

A full list of International Decades and Years 2008  is available on the UNIS site.

4.2 Other language-related "Years"

4.3 Other thematically-related "Years" for 2008

5. Next steps?

When the IYL formally ends on International Mother Language Day, 21 Feb. 2009, there will presumably be some recommendations for carrying forth initiatives begun and concerns highlighted during the year. In addition, organizations and individuals will carry on their activities.

Will there be further international programs or observances on topics related to the world's languages?

5.1 Declare an International Decade of Languages?

One idea is declaration by the UN of a decade-long program for languages. Some links on this topic: