Ten language groups come together for dictionary development workshop

FROM THE DESK OF THE COORDINATOR FOR DICTIONARIES AND LEXICOGRAPHY

(April 2012) More amazing linguistic production coming from Nepal. Jeff Webster organized a Dictionary Development Process workshop using DDP (the method for rapid word collection and semantic classification) and the WeSay computer program. This was originally planned for only 4 languages, but interest quickly spread and more groups wanted to get in on this exciting linguistic stuff – so they ended up with 10 groups and over 100 participants! As of April they have just finished a 3-day training phase, and all the groups (about 40-50 field workers) have fanned out to their villages for word collection. They plan to return to Kathmandu by May 22 bringing their data for keyboarding.

  • The Goal – after a two-month series of foundational events, this will hopefully culminate in the publication of 10 community-produced dictionaries over the next two years.
     
  • Process: 1) train facilitators for each of the 10 language groups, 2) then with those facilitators, train key people from each language who will then go to their communities for an intensive period of word collection, and 3) finally, in subsequent phases keyboard the data, working on revisions and adding additional parts to the dictionaries.
     

This is a truly historic workshop, not just because it included 10 languages in a foundational language development training, but because of the significant partnership. There was excellent cooperation between four key players in Nepal (each one contributing resources) on behalf of minority communities. Two partners are even paying for all the printing, something quite extraordinary in recent experience.