Archive for the ‘computing’ Category
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.
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.
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.
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
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.)
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.
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:
- Ehattesaht – Nuu-chah-nulth (nuk/noo in Ethnologue)
- Halq’eméylem – Halkomelem (hur)
- Ktunaxa – Kutenai (kut)
- Kwak̓wala – Kwak’wala (kwk)
- Nisg̱a’a – Nisga’a (ncg)
- Northern St̕’át̕’imcets – Lillooet (lil)
- SENĆOŦEN – Saanich (str-saa)
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.