Almost forgotten

An unusual literary journey through the Danube region

2021 - 2022

Video podcast series on the language and literature of "small" minorities

There are about 6,700 languages and each language holds a secret: While we can immediately locate English, Chinese, Hindi and Spanish – the most widespread languages in the world – geographically, most of us already fail at the language of the Lipovans, the Csángó or the chocolate cats. And where do the Aromanians or the Spišs live and how do they speak? The preservation of languages, many of which are threatened today, is crucial not only for the preservation of linguistic but also cultural diversity. The often invoked diversity of the Danube region is also found in its linguistic diversity. This diversity, in turn, is a key component in building and sustaining inclusive, open, diverse, and participatory knowledge societies. Through languages, information and knowledge are communicated, promoting prosperity, social change and sustainable development.

Today, over 50 percent of the world’s approximately 6700 spoken languages are at risk of disappearing. On average, a language is lost every two weeks, and with it a piece of cultural and intellectual heritage. Many languages are not even present on the Internet. UNESCO encourages its Member States to develop policies to strengthen linguistic diversity and multilingualism in the digital space, as they have a key role to play in promoting pluralistic, equitable and open knowledge societies.

The project dedicates a selection to this little-noticed topic and approaches the unknown and unfortunately almost forgotten languages from the literary side. The project aims to raise awareness of the smallest communities of the Danube region and to give them a voice and a stage with the help of literature. After researching 11 almost forgotten languages or languages little known in Western Europe, a digital series will be created. In this series, authors and their works will be presented (in the original language and in German as well as with English subtitles) and, of course, information about these languages and ethnic groups will be conveyed. The project was also presented at the Danube Lounge at Buch Wien 2021.

In 2021, 4 episodes of the video podcast series will be presented and published on Youtube in early 2022: the Lipovans, the Csángó, the Schokatzen and Bunjewatzen, and the Banater Swabians.

Project Team

Izabela Mašić (Novi Sad-Vojvodina), Andrea Wolfer (Timișoara – Banat), Szonja Dohnál (Veszprém – Lake Balaton), Jakob Kinz (Bad Ischl – Salzkammergut), Jonas Bolle (Stuttgart – Ulm) as well as the project management: Swantje Volkmann (Ulm) and Márton Méhes (Vienna).