An event called «Visualize the Erzyan language (Erzyan’ Kel’)» was recently started by a group of Erzya young people via VKontakte social network.
n order to revitalize a language, one should be less concerned with its purity and richness. First and foremost one should should make sure that the language is valued by those who speak it, that it is frequently spoke and that it is passed along to the future generations…» (Janne Saarikivi/Annika Pasanen)
A word from the event organizers:
One of the peculiarities of our language is that it can be HEARED on the streets, but at the same time is quite rarely SEEN, in other words most of the visual information is available in Russian only. Let try to fix this situation a bit. Obviously, we don’t have enough resources to influence TV programming or government agencies, but we can still change the simplest forms of visual messages.
One of the easiest ways to do it is through the use of paper ads. You can come up with a cool ad or maybe even a sticker, which would convey a positive message in Erzyan language (any dialect would be fine). Please make sure the message is appropriate for public dissemination. For example, you can create an ad that would read «Teci kenyardoman’ ska» / «Today is a happiness day» right next to a funny pic of a cat, print it or draw it yourself, post it in an appropriate place and then take a pic of the ad and send it to us, so that we could publish it. Let your imagination go wild!
About 70-80% of the Erzya population are not familiar with the so called «literary norms». That’s why our primary objective is not to fight for perfect grammar and point out true grammar-Nazis, but to revive and popularize a dying language. Grammar rules are secondary and will matter once true interest in the Erzyan language has been sparked. They would be especially important in those regions where the language is not taught in schools – which, again, cover about 70-80% of our population. In our case it is very important to avoid the so-called «language purism», otherwise those of us who speak a different dialect would feel that they do not use the language properly and would therefore switch to Russian.
Eryazo Erzyan Kel’! Ucan pel’denk kucovkst :)
Translated by Oleg Volgarev
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