The Sydney Language Festival will take place in Redfern on Saturday 5th July.
What is a language festival?
A language festival is a cultural and educational event held in different countries of the world. The purpose of language festivals is to provide information about as many different languages of the world as possible to people who are interested in languages and show how great the variety of languages in the world is. Language festivals also try to demonstrate that all languages in the world are equally important and valuable and that there should be no “major” and “minor” languages. It is very unfair to judge a language by its number of speakers. The festival aims at encouraging people to learn foreign languages and not just the languages most widely spoken. Esperanto organisations initiated the idea of the festivals. They want to promote international communication on an equal footing and want to prevent major languages from swallowing up smaller ones.
Speak a regional language locally, a national language nationally, and an international language like Esperanto internationally.
The idea of the Language Festival originated with a US Esperanto speaker, Dennis Keefe, who initiated and organized the first Language Festival in 1995 in Tours, France. A report about the event was published in the international Esperanto magazine “Kontakto” and already the following year (1996) the first Russian Language Festival was held in Cheboksary. The biggest Language Festival so far was held at the University of Nanjing (China) in 2008 with 13,547 visitors and 72 languages or dialects presented.
The Sydney Language Festival is organised by the Sydney Language Festival Association, whose director Dmitry Lushnikov is a board member of the NSW Esperanto Federation.
Last year the Sydney language festival was held at Macquarie University and you can watch several videos from last year’s event:
I hope that many of you will attend this year’s festival and think about fairer ways to communicate internationally. If you can’t attend, it will be possible to watch parts of the festival online on Sydney’s IPTV Esperanto channel.