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SOAS We Talk

To celebrate 100 years of SOAS in 2016, SOAS We Talk was proposed in collaboration with the SOAS World Language Institute. SOAS We Talk is for anyone who is passionate about language, culture and SOAS, and highlights the great diversity of the school.

As SOAS started its centenary celebrations, Language Documentation and Description students wanted to contribute to the festivities with a project of their own. SOAS We Talk was developed as a fully student-run project celebrating 100 years of diversity at SOAS by collecting, documenting, and sharing the languages spoken within the school. The goal was to capture the diversity at SOAS in as many languages, varieties, and dialects as possible using video recording and disseminating the data on our own YouTube channel and through a map visualisation. Videos were recorded of SOAS students, staff, alumni, and friends. The goal was to reach at least 100 languages but the project ended up with 119! Below are just a few of the highlights from the project:

  • The very first language in the project is Georgian spoken by Language Documentation and Description student Zurab (Note: there are subtitles!)
  • 100th language is British Sign Language by Lauren.
  • The very last language, the 119th language, is Tigrinya spoken by Sara:
  • Most students, alumni, and staff shared their language by talking about their experiences at SOAS, while others shared their language through poetry, or by giving us a glimpse into their lives while using their language:
  • Many friends wanted to wish SOAS a happy birthday.

All videos beautifully illustrate how linguistically and culturally diverse SOAS is which is exactly what the project wanted to achieve. If you like what you see, please also subscribe to our channel and share the videos. You can also follow us on Instagram @soaswetalk, and like our Facebook page!

If you didn’t have a chance to contribute a video, you can still participate by contributing subtitles! We are currently crowd sourcing the subtitles for the videos and it would be wonderful if you could spare 10-15 minutes subtitling a video or two. You can do this by signing in to your YouTube account (if you have a Gmail account, this is the same thing), and watching a video. Once the video opens, click the cog icon on the bottom right of the video. Select ‘Add subtitles/cc’, and you’ll be redirected to a screen where you can add subtitles. It is very quick and easy!

Finally, a big thank you is in order to everyone who participated and to everyone watching the contributions.

ありがとうございました, gracias, danke, a dupe, kiitos, terima kasih, mun gode, 謝謝 !

Blog post by Martha Tsutsui Billins

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