International Year of Indigenous Language


To celebrate the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Language, we have chosen to name the 2019 SmarterU Releases using words from a variety of languages that are related to learning and knowledge. Within our own team, we speak, read and write many languages, including:

  • English
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • French
  • Gujarati
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Portuguese (Brazillian)
  • Russian
  • Urdu
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Plus numerous computer languages!

"Languages play a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication, education, social integration and development, but also as a repository for each person’s unique identity, cultural history, traditions and memory.”

Ako (Teach)

Language: Te Reo Māori
Pronounciation: ah-ko
Where it's spoken: 
New Zealand (Polynesia)

Māori is spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand, and has been one of New Zealand's official languages since 1987 (the other two being English and New Zealand Sign Language).

Many New Zealand English words are taken from Māori, such as names of birds, plants, and places.

Learn more about Te Reo Māori

Funda (Learn)

Language: Xhosa
Where it's spoken:
Africa - South Africa (Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State)

Xhosa is a Nguni Bantu language with click consonants and is a tonal language—it creates multiple meaning for the same series of consonants and vowels, depending on the intonation (high or low).

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was used as the stand-in for the langauage of Wakanda.

Learn more about Xhosa

Yachay (Learn)

Language: Quechua
Pronounciation: yah-shay
Where it's spoken:
South America - Central Andes Mountains (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru)

Quechua is an indigenous language spoken by the Quechua people, and is widely known as the primary language of the Inca Empire.

Peru was the first country to recognize Quechua as one of its official languages in 1975, and it is now also an official language in Ecuador and Bolivia.

Learn more about Quechua

Nzeru (Wisdom)

Language: Chichewa
mizz-ee-ru, zee-roo
Where it's spoken:
Africa - Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe

Chichewa is one of the official languages of Malawi, one of the seven official languages in Zambia, and one of 16 official languages in Zimbabwe. While it is also spoken in Mozambique, Chichewa is not recognized as an official language.

Chichewa was used for one of the spoken greetings (along with 54 other languages) that were recorded and sent along with the Voyager Spacecraft.

Learn more about Chichewa

Nâlak (Listen)

Language: Inuktitut
Pronounciation: nah-lack
Where it's spoken:
Canada - Northwest Territories, Nunatsiavut (Newfoundland & Labrador), Nunavik (Quebec), Nunavut; USA - Alaska

Inuktitut is one of four official languages of Nunavut, and one of the eight official languages of the Northwest Territories (as of 1984).

In the early 2000s, Nunavut's school system implemented Inuktitut immersion programs for preservation and promotion of the language.

Learn more about Inuktitut

Eòlas (Knowledge)

Language: Gaelic (also known as Scottish Gaelic)
e-oh-lass, oh-lass
Where it's spoken:
Scotland; Canada - Nova Scotia

Gaelic is not an official language of the European Union or UK, but is recognized as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Learn more about Gaelic

Visit the official website for more information on the International Year of Indigenous Languages.