If it's not written it did not happen: The written bias in the digital world
Literacy is a bottleneck for languages to be used in the digital world. While digital held the promise of democratization to access to knowledge, the reality is that you need to be literate in English or a few other not marginalized languages to be able to participate in the digital world. For speakers of one of the probably 6000 unwritten languages, this keeps the door closed or only allows them to enter and participate via the majority languages. That providing content is not a matter of translation into a majority language can be seen in the crisis communication around COVID 19 where the digital can provide a far reach but then is hampered by its monolingual and written bias. New ways of accessing and providing content digitally in other than majority languages is one of the challenges for digital activists and communities to be tackled now.
Language and Technology Decolonization as a Disruption to Digital Monolingualism
This talk will present a reflection on how Afro-Latin American and Afrolatinx digital productions –multilingual and based on diverse epistemologies—serve as models to re-conceptualize the role played by language and technology in our hyper connected (although disconnected) world. The talk will highlight the challenges to carry out research and teaching of minoritarian languages/cultures in a context in which language is seen, from a utilitarian perspective, as a mere tool that improves the chances for learners to land better jobs and careers. Connecting language, technology, and culture as embodied practices, the paper proposes a decolonization of the digital (as well as of language) through the adoption of expanded conceptions of infrastructure, repurpose of the digital by minoritarian communities, and the re-imagining of language teaching and research as practices based on organic solidarities and corporeal interactions.