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(October 2016) Congratulations to the compilers of six dictionaries newly-published this year on Webonary.org from July through September
With the addition of these six, the total is now 85 dictionaries from 33 countries that are published online by SIL International through Webonary. This online resource gives minority language groups the ability to publish bilingual or multilingual dictionaries on the web with a minimum of technical help. With internet availability, dictionary entries can be entered and published as a rough draft as well as in a more formal state.
Webonary gives language groups the ability to publish bilingual or multilingual dictionaries on the web with a minimum of technical help. (click image to enlarge)
A Rapid Word Collection (RWC) workshop is a significant method of enabling speakers of lesser-known languages to create their own dictionaries. The RWC method has revolutionized the task of collecting words by using a systematic method to capture these words, taught in a workshop organized in the language community.
A Rapid Word Collection workshop was held in the Guéra Region of Chad where 13,084 words were documented.
SIL Chad is partnering with FAPLG (Fédération des Associations de Promotion des Langues du Guéra) to meet the linguistic needs of the 25+ language communities in the Guéra Region. In July of this year, Webonary consultant Kevin Warfel led a Rapid Word Collection workshop for one of those languages. Both FAPLG and SIL personnel were trained so they can conduct and teach similar workshops in other Guéra languages in the future.
On the fifth day of the workshop, two government officials, who are involved in language promotion, along with SIL Chad’s Director, stopped by to see how the workshop was progressing. Everyone was thrilled to point to the progress chart showing that 7000 words had already been collected!
After hearing about and seeing what was going on, one of the officials—whose roots are in the Guéra Region—stated that his language should be the next one to benefit from this newly-learned technique.
All the participants worked hard and the end result of the workshop was 13,084 words documented—more than most had dared to hope to achieve. Congratulations to the workshop organizers and to each participant!
Having a dictionary in a minority language often has the effect of validating the language to the speakers themselves as well as to other language groups, and to local governments. It may even pave the way to further language development and education.