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Meet Tiöma

Tiöma is building the first-ever textbook for his language, illuminated by a corpus of mother-tongue oral histories, folk stories, and traditional music.

Spoken in Wilamowice, Poland, Wymysorys is a Germanic language with strong links to local identity and a long history of suppression. Once the vernacular language of its town, Wymysorys was banned by the Polish government until 1956. Today, there is growing interest in reviving the language, and many community-based groups have launched projects to document and increase the use of Wymysorys. These efforts have stalled somewhat due to the pandemic, but the enthusiasm persists and more in-person work will soon be possible again.

Language activist and PhD candidate Tiöma fum Dökter is the youngest native speaker of Wymysorys, and has powerful aims to ensure the language’s future. With just 20 native speakers left, the main priority is documenting the language with high-quality video recordings. With the help of volunteers, the team will transcribe and translate these recordings for archiving on the Wikitongues website. The team will then design a Polish and English Wymysorys textbook using approximately fifty tales, stories, and songs from the recordings. Long-term, the team hopes that language learning fans around the world will be able to take advantage of these resources.

Tiöma's Background

Tymoteusz Król is a Vilamovian, an activist for the revitalization of Wymysorys language and culture, and a member of the Association “Wilamowianie”. He has been working on the revitalization of his language, Wymysorys, since he was a child. He is currently a PhD student at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, where under the program "Borderlands, Minorities, Migrations" he is preparing a dissertation on the accounts of Vilamovians about postwar persecution. The revitalization activities in Wilamowice have been continued with cooperation of the Association “Wilamowianie” and Center for Research and Practice in Cultural Continuity of University of Warsaw.

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