Archive for the ‘computing’ Category

New mailing list – Community informatics and Indigenous communities

26 April 2013

Out of the discussions at the 2012 Community Informatics Research Network came the idea for a mailing list on community informatics and indigenous communities throughout the world.

To sign up to the list, see Ci-indigenous. The list is hosted by KO-KNET.

Tribes go to Las Vegas to learn about tech

25 April 2013

To learn how technology can help save their languages, some tribes sent members to Las Vegas in February.

The article “To save endangered languages, tribes turn to tech“* gives few details about the meeting, but does briefly mention Cherokee (chr), Ho-Chunk (Winnebago (win)) and Pit River (Achumawi (acv)).

Also mentioned is Thornton Media, a company that has developed a number of apps and software programs for language revitalization. According to their PDF, they have apps released for 14 languages so far and are working on apps for 12 others. See also Luiseño on Nintendo under Development and RezWorld Demo – Task-based Language Instruction for mention of Thorton Media on this blog.

* There seems to be a glitch with the Boston Globe website. If you get an error, try reloading.

Google Alerts

25 April 2013

If you want to be notified when Google finds new or changed content on a topic, you can set up a Google Alert. This is handy, for example, if you want to gather information on a particular endangered language.

The service used to be offered right on the Google search page, but that no longer seems to be the case. To set up an alert request, go to the Google Alerts page.

Wikipedia also has a page on this service at Google Alerts, where it says this is a beta service open to the public.

App for collecting oral literature

24 April 2013

If you have enough of a source language and accompanying translation, you can piece back together vital parts of a language if a time comes when it is no longer spoken. Collecting that data can be hard work, however.

To address the difficulties of collecting oral language, Language Preservation 2.0 (lp20) has created Aikuma, a free app for Android smartphones that linguists and community members themselves can use to record language with a function to stop along the way and provide a translation.

Read more about the app, and about Tembé/Tenetehára (tqb) and Usarufa (usa), in the article “Recording the world’s vanishing voices.”

sbuusaɫ sqʷuʔalikʷ dxʷʔal ti dxʷləšucid – 1

23 April 2013

sbuusaɫ sqʷuʔalikʷ dxʷʔal ti dxʷləšucid, the Fourth Annual Lushootseed Language Conference, was held Saturday at Seattle University. Titled “šəqild čeɫ ti dxʷsdigʷid ʔi ti xʷdikʷ” (Honoring the Teachers and the Teachings), the conference had something for everyone: language, culture, community, revitalization, technology and more.

A special highlight of the conference was keynote speaker Virginia Beavert, who included in her talk her personal experiences that involved learning Lushootseed (lut) after running away from her Sahaptin-speaking home. Among her advice was that when approaching an elder to get language information:

  1. Say up front what you will do with the information
  2. Give the elder time to consider the request
  3. Explain the importance of developing teaching materials.

Lushootseed teachers Michelle Myles and Natosha Gobin discussed a literary technique used in Lushootseed storytelling along with a recounting of the history of the story “Lady Louse.” They gave out a wonderful booklet that includes photographs of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Krise, a DVD of “Lady Louse” and flash cards for teaching the story.

John La Pointe discussed ties between Puget Salish culture and Christianity, weaving in his personal background.

Zalmai ʔəswəli Zahir discussed how to create a space from which a language can be revitalized.

Deryle Lonsdale discussed the online Lushootseed Dictionary project. It is expected to be available in a few months.

Dave Sienko noted how despite tremendous processing power, smartphones lack full Unicode implementation and so have trouble with the Lushootseed alphabet. As a workaround, the Puyallup Tribe has released Texting Twulshootseed and other apps, which enables the iPhone to text in Lushootseed.

Russell Hugo discussed Moodle, open-source software for educators, as one way to create a community of language learners.

Lushootseed texts are available from Lushootseed Research. Although not currently listed, there are CDs also available.

Cherokee and Technology: a Lecture at the University of Washington

23 September 2012

As occasionally noted on this blog, great advances have been made for using Cherokee (chr) in computing, including mobile devices. Because of the unique syllabary (writing system) used in Cherokee, computing adaptation requires special

This upcoming Thursday, the Indigenous Information Research Group (Facebook page) is sponsoring a lecture by Roy Boney, Jr., a Cherokee Nation language preservationist. Titled “Cherokee Language Technology: The Syllabary and the Nation’s History of Technological Adoption,” the lecture will be about the design and development of Cherokee language apps for mobile devices.

When: Thursday, 27 September, 1:00-2:30 pm
Where: Room 416
Fourth Floor, Roosevelt Commons Building
4311 11th Ave NE
Seattle, WA

Wikipedia as a tool to revive Aymara

9 September 2012

Wikipidiya, the Aymara language version of Wikipedia, has 2273 articles, and the Aymara Wiktionary has 27.

The Ethnologue cites 2.2 million speakers of Central Aymara (ayr) and 220,000 speakers of Southern Aymara (ayc), but is losing ground to Spanish.

Most of the speakers live in Bolivia. Under the presidency of Aymara native Evo Morales, a new constitution was adopted in 2009 that made 36 indigenous languages official, along with Spanish.

As part of the movement to revitalize Aymara, the group Jaqi Aru works to update the Aymara vocabulary in such places as Wikipedia and Global Voices. To learn more about their efforts, read “Bolivians equip ancient language for digital times.” (Please note that the numbers of speakers cited there diverge greatly from the Ethnologue.)

The English language version of Wiktionary has only a few Aymara word entries, but does have quite a few tokens in the Aymara Swadesh word list.

See also Jaqi Aru, the Jaqi Aru Twitter page and the Jaqi Aru Facebook page.

Wikipedia in Chinuk Wawa

29 July 2012

In December 2008, a trial was begun to see if a viable Chinuk Wawa or Chinook Jargon (chn) version of Wikipedia could be launched.

According to Catanalysis, there are 37 articles to date. Do you know Chinuk Wawa? Maybe you could create the 38th article.

Microsoft Translator Hub

13 July 2012

Microsoft has created a system to assist in translation. One of their targets is language revitalization. To join the translator hub, you must sent a request that includes how you want to use the hub. See Microsoft Translator Hub for further details.

According to the Microsoft video outlining the project, the system allows formats such as .doc, .pdf, .txt and .tmx, the latter being a format used in translation.

See also “Microsoft Translator Hub Will Save Languages From Extinction” for an overview of the project.

App for 100+ languages

1 July 2012

The Cherokee app was released for the iPhone in 2010 (see “YouTube video of Cherokee iPhone app” on this blog). Cherokee has a  writing system (Cherokee syllabary) requiring 85 or 86 unique symbols for writing.

Starting in October 2011, FirstVoices has released a series of apps for use on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch:

Each is a free app with educational content.

While the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch have an easy interface for switching among languages, there are many languages that require characters not available. On 18 June, FirstVoices released their FirstVoices Chat app that provides characters for more than 100 languages spoken in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.

Also free, the FirstVoices Chat app allows you to set up to seven languages to type in.