Submissions:2018/"ReImaginingTheShift": The Role of Technology as a Tool for Language Advocacy for Historically Undervalued Languages like Haitian Creole

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#ReImaginingTheShift: The Role of Technology as a Tool for Language Advocacy for Historically Undervalued Languages like Haitian Creole
Theme (optional)
Inclusion & Diversity
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Wynnie Lamour
E-mail address
Wikimedia username
Affiliation(s) (optional)
The Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York and New York University
#ReImaginingTheShift or The Role of Technology and Social Media in Language Activism/Advocacy for Historically Undervalued Languages -

A historically undervalued language is a language that suffers from systemic, social, and cultural degradation, exists in the shadow of a more dominant and socially “acceptable” language, and is spoken by historically disadvantaged and marginalized peoples. Speakers within these historically undervalued linguistic communities are often shamed for speaking their Mother Tongue, while being portrayed as “uneducated”, “unintelligent”, and “unworthy” of participating in mainstream societies. The people of Haiti, speakers of Haitian Creole, or Kreyòl Ayisyen, are part of one such language community that continues to undergo this heavy struggle: how to overcome the negative stereotype of being a speaker of a historically undervalued language like Haitian Creole and find a sustainable way to positively promote and preserve their language? In Haiti, despite the fact that the vast majority of the Haitian people speak and communicate in Kreyòl, they are often oppressively pushed outside of major spheres of life, such as education, politics, healthcare, etc, as French is the main language in which most affairs are conducted. Reclaiming the power of the Mother Tongue (i.e., Kreyòl) must involve taking the reins of information sharing. The use of new technologies such as Wikipedia and Social Media platforms can serve to center the conversation around the importance and necessity of the use of Kreyòl as a tool of empowerment for the Haitian people. For the past several years, as part of the Indigenous and Diasporic Language Consortium (IDLC), New York University (NYU) in conjunction with the Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York has been offering undergraduate level course in Haitian Creole. The courses have worked strongly with the WikiEdu platform to produce Wikipedia articles that place Haiti as their focus, contributing tens of thousands of word to Wikipedia. This presentation will focus on the NYU Haitian Creole courses as a case study in using Wikipedia as a tool for language advocacy by #ReImaginingTheShift, especially in academic spaces of higher-learning that have been historically non-diverse. The presentation will discuss how Wikipedia is used as a platform for more engagement around Haiti and how the Haitian Creole Wikipedia serves to empower speakers of Haitian Creole by facilitating more autonomous involvement in the creating and dissemination of information in Haitian Creole. The presentation will also focus on the importance of closely monitoring the Haitian Creole Wikipedia and encouraging a type of engagement that honors the language itself, centers Haitian people, and follows the rules of the Wikipedia platform. The presentation will be partially conducted in Haitian Creole.

Length of presentation
15-30 min. presentation
Special requests
Preferred room size
No preference.
Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?
Yes, I presented at the 2016 WikiConference North America in San Diego.
If you will be incorporating a slidedeck during your presentation, do you agree to upload it to Commons before your session, with a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license, including suitable attribution in the slidedeck for any images used?
Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?

Interested attendees

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  1. Kreyolnyc (talk) 15:46, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
  2. JNova7 (talk) 23:55, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
  3. Mozucat (talk) 16:40, 23 August 2018 (UTC)