Video: Learning a New Language Through Online Video

This post is part of our special coverage Languages and the Internet.

February 21st is the International Mother Language Day and this year's theme is Linguistic Diversity and New Technologies. With that in mind, we bring you a series of examples of how people are celebrating and sharing their mother language with others through online videos and websites.

out of order sign in several languages.

No Funciona by Ciro Durán, CCBY

Our first linguistic stop is Aymara; this language, used by more than two million people is spoken in Bolivia, Peru and Chile and is recognized as an official language in the first two.  Aymara speakers are becoming more active on the web through projects such as Jaqi Aru in El Alto, Bolivia and thanks to their efforts in translation, now Global Voices is available in Aymara. Following, through this short video by Choice Humanitarian Org we can learn a few phrases in Aymara from the native speakers:

Another Amerindian language family is Quechua: from Ecuador to Argentina, different dialects of Quechua are spoken by more than 10 million people.  It is also an official language in Peru and Bolivia.  Jaime Salazar learned to love Quechua as an adult: when he was younger he considered that it was a dying language and that there weren't enough books in Quechua to consider it worth his time, although he admitted to liking several songs in that language. Now he teaches Quechua online both to English and Spanish speaking audiences through his YouTube channel.  In this next video he teaches us how to say “I love to learn”

Lets head over to Namibia, and learn a bit about KhoeKhoegowab. It is one of the most widespread languages of the Khoe language family,  recognized for their particular clicking sounds in certain words.  Primary school teachers Thusnelda Dausas and Gabriel /Khoeseb will teach us the four clicking sounds: !, /, # and // in this next video.

Learning through song is a fun way to learn, and not only for children. This next song lesson will teach us how to greet people in Swahili, the Lingua Franca or common tongue in most of East Africa.

Welsh is the official language of Wales, but is also spoken in some places of England, New Zealand, Australia and even Argentina. In this next video, Ben Low will teach us (while he teaches his friend David) how to pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the name of a Welsh town whose claim to fame is its very, very long name.

And last but not least, lets revisit the origins of the International Mother Language Day. This commemorative event can can trace its story to the University of Dhaka in 1952 when students protesting for the conservation of Bengali as an official language of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) were killed. Bangla is now the official language of not only Bangladesh but also India and Sierra Leone. Susan is the one who will teach us how to greet people in Bangla.

Global Voices Online deeply cares about linguistic diversity and multilingualism: GVO is made up of of hundreds of volunteers, translators, authors and editors who speak or write in more than one language. Many of our readers are also bilingual, but we work very hard for those who may not speak English as a second language and who deserve to be able to read worldwide content in their mother tongue. So please feel free to check out the different Global Voices Lingua sites and if you wish to, leave a comment and show your support.

This post is part of our special coverage Languages and the Internet.


  • really interesting article, Juliana!
    I also think we have to make anything to promote and rescue local languages.
    I’ve seen some efforts in technology in the past years. Microsoft Windows version in Quechua ( and I barely remember a community effort in Guatemala. The open source community started to translate FireFox to one of the 21 local languages spoken by natives, K’iche’. If I can find an url, I’ll share it here.

    and Happy International Mother Language Day!


  • Jared

    Video Interpreting is a quick, convenient way for deaf and hearing people to communicate, when they are in the same room, with the assistance of a Fluent American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. For more information about video interpreting:

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