Help us preserve our language

Istrians who speak Vlaški and Žejanski (Vlashki and Zheyanski, also Istro-Romanian) now live around the world, on several continents, as well as in Croatia. Our estimate is that there are more speakers of the language now living abroad than there are in Istria, and most are middle aged and elderly. Because one researcher, or even a team of researchers, cannot accomplish the goal of documenting a language on several continents, we need your involvement and help.

What we do

An important goal of the Preservation of the Vlaški and Žejanski Language project is to create a digital archive of the Vlaški and Žejanski language and local culture. This archive will contain a variety of multi-media materials, including photographs, music files, maps, archival documents, digital books and articles, and last but not least, audio and video recordings of people speaking the language in a variety of contexts.

On the Community Voices page, in People and Memories and Kum se fače...? you can hear and watch short selections from the audio and video recordings we have done so far. There are audio recordings of "oral histories"--people's memories and stories about the past and present recounted in one-to-one conversations, and there are videos of people explaining how something is done. We continue to make these and other recordings in Istria and in New York.

What you can do

Would you like to get involved and help document and preserve Vlaški and Žejanski? Get in touch with us and we can provide you with more information.

Talk to your parent or grandparent

If you have a parent, grandparent or another family member, neighbor or friend who can speak the language, and you have some basic skills and interest in using a digital audio recorder or video camera, you can make recordings similar to those on the Community Voices page. We can then make your recording part of our digital archive.

For documentary purposes, we are mostly interested in stories about everyday life and culture of the community and memories that reveal the group's local history, as remembered by those who lived it.

Read the Our Quick Guide, downloadable from this page, for some ideas and suggestions on how you can record or video tape a conversation with a family member or friend. You can also get more information on the topic by exploring the StoryCorps links we provide on this page.

Collect interesting old photographs or documents

We are also interested in other types of archival material, such as old photographs or documents. Take a look at the Photo Albums page. It includes some old photographs that exist in other archives and publications, but also many photographs from the private collections of people we talked to. So, if you own old, interesting photographs, or if someone you interview shows you photographs you think are worth documenting, you can scan them and send them to us for our archive. If the photographs are not yours, be sure to ask for permission to reproduce them.

Send your materials to us

If you are interested in getting involved with this project, please write to us and we will give you further information. You can send materials to us by signing up and filling in the Contact Form and uploading your files and release forms there. Some of the material we receive will be posted on our website!

Depending on your interest, we are also exploring the idea to provide special sharing and viewing space for contributors on this website, so let your interest be heard!



StoryCorps Question Generator

StoryCorps Do-It-Yourself Recording Guide

StoryCrops Do-It-Yourself Video