The BBC World Service will launch 11 new language services including Amharic, Affaan Oromo and Tigrinya as part of its biggest expansion “since the 1940s”, the corporation has announced.
The expansion is a result of the funding boost announced by the UK government last year.
The new languages will be Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Igbo, Korean, Marathi, Pidgin, Punjabi, Telugu, Tigrinya, and Yoruba.
The first new services are expected to launch in 2017.
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- Afaan Oromo: Language of Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group
- Amharic: Ethiopia’s official language
- Tigrinya: The main working language of Eritrea, along with Arabic. Also spoken in Ethiopia
- Igbo: An official Nigerian language. Also spoken in Equatorial Guinea
- Yoruba: Spoken in south-western Nigeria and some other parts of West Africa, especially Benin and Togo
- Pidgin: A creole version of English widely spoken in southern Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea
- Gujarati: Native to the Indian state of Gujarat but found around the Indian subcontinent and the world
- Marathi: From the Indian state of Maharashtra, including India’s commercial capital Mumbai
- Telugu: Huge numbers of speakers, like many Indian languages, primarily in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
- Punjabi: One of the world’s most populous languages, it is widely-spoken in Pakistan and parts of India
- Korean: Spoken in North and South though the dialects have diverged. Pop culture slang and foreign loan words are notably more common in the South
“This is a historic day for the BBC, as we announce the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s,” said BBC director general Tony Hall.
“The BBC World Service is a jewel in the crown – for the BBC and for Britain.
“As we move towards our centenary, my vision is of a confident, outward-looking BBC which brings the best of our independent, impartial journalism and world-class entertainment to half a billion people around the world.
“Today is a key step towards that aim.”
‘Relevant as ever’
The plans include the expansion of digital services to offer more mobile and video content and a greater social media presence.
On Wednesday the BBC launches a full digital service in Thai, following the success of a Facebook-only “pop-up” service launched in 2014. … Read More on BBC News
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