The message from Rozenn Milin of the Chirac Foundation to Le Likès on the 9th January: be open to the world.

Sorosoro: a programme for keeping languages alive in the 21st Century.

The Friday Forum team at Le Likès High School invited Rozenn Milin to speak on the 9th January 2009. She is responsible for the Sorosoro programme, which safeguards languages under the Chirac Foundation. Fondation Chirac.

Standing before students from Terminale ES and L in the morning, and BTS students in the afternoon, she recounted her professional career, which she began 18 years ago as a Breton language journalist. She ended up at Breizh TV, the first Breton language channel.

Fluent in five languages, including Chinese learnt during a two-year experience at the French embassy in Beijing, Rozenn Milin has been in charge of the Sorosoro programme for two years. Sorosoro is an Araki word meaning ’breath, speech, language.’

The aim of this ambitious project is to complete the formation of an audiovisual and ethnographic memory of the 3000 languages in danger of extinction in the 21st Century, half of the 6000 languages spoken around the world today today.
In order to document this linguistic heritage, the Sorosoro team work alongside university laboratories. It’s a matter of filming native speakers on location and also of documenting the vocabulary, syntax, and grammar of the language: 80% of endangered languages are not written, and rely solely on the spoken word in order to be passed down from generation generation.

The first missions will begin in spring 2009 and concern Gabon and Guatemala. In June 2009, the Sorosoro programme will grow to include an interactive internet platform, sponsored by Orange. This website will make films and scientific knowledge about endangered languages available to the public at an international level.

In the discussions with the students that followed, the uncertain future of the Breton language was talked about and compared with that of the Welsh language, which both have the same number of speakers as 20 years ago, about 500 000. The question of the practice of the Breton language at Le Likès High School was the subject of an investigation published in the latest issue of the school magazine. Beyond the issue of language it is also the transmission of culture and memory which are at stake.....

As recalled by Eric Orsenna in an online video, which can be found on the Chirac Foundation website [], languages are our eyes, our way of naming the world: globalisation risks destroying these minority cultures and if no effort is made to teach and transmit them, if we do not preserve these differences today, then we risk creating an antiseptic and uniform future.

The Friday Forum team.

to know more about the Sorosoro programme visit the Chirac Foundation website at:

Published on the : Saturday 10 January 2009

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