Communities developing resources and competencies for using their languages
Foundational understanding for language development work of all kinds
Publications, fonts and computer tools for language development, translation and research
SIL offers training in disciplines relevant to sustainable language development.
7,105 languages are spoken or signed. CLICK for map of world languages & regional websites.
SIL's dedication to language development past and present
The Rapid Word Collection method uses a systematic method based on "semantic domains" to collect words in a workshop organized in the language community. Jeff Webster used this method in a workshop in Nepa.
The Searchable Semantic Domains and Questions website contains a list of nearly 1800 semantic domains. They are organized in a hierarchy under nine major headings so that similar domains can be found together.
FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx) is the lexical and text tools component of SIL FieldWorks. It is an open source desktop application designed to facilitate field linguists perform many common tasks. It can help you:
To learn more... FLEx Tutorial.
WeSay helps non-linguists build a dictionary in their own language. It has various ways to help native speakers to think of words in their language and enter some basic data about them. The program is customizable and task-oriented, giving the advisor the ability to turn on/off tasks as needed and as the user receives training for those tasks. WeSay uses a standard xml format, so data can be exchanged with linguist-oriented tools like FieldWorks. Team members can collaborate via USB flash drive, email, and via network connections. Distributed teams can all work on the dictionary at the same time, online or offline, using WeSay's "Send/Receive" feature.
To learn more... WeSay Help.
Lexique Pro provides a rich browsing experience for lexicons store in an SFM format such as MDF. No import is required (though there is some initial configuration). It also supports the new XML standard, LIFT (Lexicon Interchange Format). Lexique Pro provides three kinds of output for distributing your dictionary: print, interactive CD, and website.
To learn more... Lexique Pro Features.
Pathway takes Scripture translation or dictionary data and presents it in various publishable forms. It can be used in either SIL FieldWorks or UBS Paratext. Once installed, you will see new export options which allow you to send data from these applications to Open Office, InDesign, PDF, Epub, and other formats, for publication or draft printing.
Webonary gives language groups the ability to put their bilingual or multilingual dictionaries on the web with a minimum of technical help. Each dictionary is built around a search bar, which looks for a word throughout the dictionary, and returns the most relevant results to the top of the list. An example of a dictionary on Webonary is the Lubwisi dictionary.
Geoffrey Hunt and others have been developing the SooSL program for sign language dictionaries. It's primary advantage for sign language dictionaries is that it makes video data primary, rather than an add-on. Another important design feature is that its interface uses icons rather than text, and thus is much more user-friendly for Deaf users. For now, SooSL is still in early stages of development, and is somewhat limited from a lexicographic standpoint, but even so it is quite useful because of what it does well. Stay tuned...