17-year-old Anton Roberts has amassed over 7500 followers on his TikTok account, where he teaches his followers how to speak Assyrian.
- Father's support and encouragement
- Speaking to the young Assyrians in their way of thinking
Anton was born in Australia to an Australian born Assyrian mother and an Australian father and grew up in a home where English was the commonly spoken language. But it was Anton's close relationship with his Assyrian grandparents that helped him learn the Assyrian language.
This is the language of our ancestors, who have spoken it for thousand of years
While Assyrian is considered an endangered language, Anton represents a generation of young Assyrians who are determined and passionate about its continued use.
He is also self-taught and regularly searches for Assyrian books and online resources to deepen his knowledge.
He realised that he could help his Assyrian friends who can't speak the language by producing short TikTok videos covering various topics in Assyrian vocabulary and grammar.
Some videos teach his followers how to say the names of fruits and vegetables, animals, and names of relatives in Assyrian. He even shares helpful explainer videos that break down the Assyrian grammar.
In total, he has produced over 30 Assyrian language TikToks that have been viewed by Assyrians in Australia and worldwide.
Anton believes that his TikToks provide young Assyrians with a relatable way to learn the Assyrian language because they feel more comfortable listening to someone their own age.
He tells us what motivated him to start this journey in this interview. Anton's father is Australian from an Anglo-Saxon background, but he supports him all the way. Anton says "My dad is the one who encourages me the most on what I am doing".
Anton is currently in year twelve and is planning to study software engineering after high school.
As Anton continues his journey in learning the language, his passion and love for the Assyrian community give him the drive to continue helping young Assyrians online.
His TikTok following is proof that there are many young Assyrians who are enthusiastic about learning the language.
Anton hopes to see the day that all Assyrians will be able to read, write and speak the language. "This is the language of our ancestors, who have spoken it for thousand of years".
You can watch Anton's TikTok posts on this link