AAPI Heritage Month

In recognition of AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month this May, we have curated a selection of resources below to help you discover, celebrate, and honor the vast contributions of Asian and Pacific Island American linguists, orators, singers, authors, and poets, whose words and work continue to remind us of the power of words.

Did you know?

In most of the world’s languages, the word for tea is either “te” or “cha.” Which word is used depends on how tea was originally traded. Languages that imported tea from China by land, along the Silk Road, usually borrowed the word “cha” from mainland traders who spoke Sinitic languages like Mandarin or Cantonese. But when the Dutch started bringing tea to Europe, they were getting it via sea, and the Hokkien Chinese language spoken in their Fujian and Taiwan ports used the word “te” for tea.

Themed Experience

Diverse Threads: Weaving AAPI Narratives Together

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month at Planet Word! Download the Diverse Threads: Weaving AAPI Narratives Together Themed-Experience Guide for your next visit and enjoy the identified interactive galleries that highlight AAPI voices.

Featured Past Programs

Featured Past Program

The People’s Tongue with Chang-rae Lee

December 11, 2023 | 6:30 p.m.

Immigrants have a special relationship with the English language based on necessity. Join authors Chang-rae Lee and Ilan Stavans in a conversation about finding one’s voice in a ‘foreign’ tongue.…

Featured Past Program

Language and Identity: ENGLISH by Sanaz Toossi

February 21, 2023 | 6:30 p.m.

Sanaz Toossi’s play English, set in a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) class in Karaj, Iran, in Spring 2009, looks at the ways speaking a new language…

Featured Past Program

Mapping the Languages of India with Ganesh Devy

September 22, 2022 | 12:00 p.m.

India’s constitution lists 22 languages. There are another 100 considered “major” languages, spoken by at least 10,000 people. But literary scholar and cultural activist Ganesh Devy knew there were hundreds…

Words Matter, Stories Matter

At Planet Word, we feature the words and works of numerous Asian and Pacific Island American linguists, orators, singers, authors, and poets on our walls, in our galleries, and in our Present Perfect gift shop. Check out some of the AAPI books highlighted in the museum on our Bookshop.org storefront.

Read the list

Explore Asian American culture with this collection of contemporary poets and articles curated by the Poetry Foundation.

Explore the collection

Explore the history and aesthetics of the Pacific with this collection of contemporary poets, poems, and articles curated by the Poetry Foundation.

Explore the collection
From the Advisory Board

He pūko‘a kani ‘āina: Creating Pathways for Indigenous Language Vitality

University of British Columbia Associate Professor and Planet Word Advisor Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla is committed to Hawaiian and Indigenous language revitalization and education. In this TEDx Talk, she discusses the success of the Hawaiian language revitalization movement, which has resulted in nearly 5,000 speakers of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and inspired many other Indigenous language communities around the world.

Language Matters

“Bad” English Is Part of My Korean American Heritage

In this excerpt from Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong critiques the impact of English-language hegemony and the stigmatization of “bad English” on herself, her family, and Asian communities in the United States. In her words: “To other English is to make audible the imperial power sewn into the language, to slit English open so its dark histories slide out.”