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.
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SIL's dedication to language development past and present
Language and Culture Documentation preserves language and culture data in support of linguistic vitality, cultural identity, and stewardship of heritage resources.
As a result of an increasingly interconnected world, many languages and cultural practices are not being acquired by the younger generations. This can result in a decrease the language vitality of a community and a loss of cultural knowledge. The logical end is endangered languages which are not expected to be spoken in the near future. Such loss undermines the identities of the communities involved, as well as being a loss to humanity—including academic scholarship—of the unique contribution the knowledge and perspectives of these communities might otherwise bring.
To address this on-going loss, a collaborative language and culture documentation team—comprised of local community members and interested outsider(s)—collects a corpus of digital audio and video recordings which are representative of the community’s linguistic and cultural practices. These recordings are analyzed and processed to make them accessible by both community members and outsiders. Then the entire corpus of recordings and accompanying access materials is archived, thereby contributing to the availability and long term preservation of this legacy for multiple users and purposes.
Language and Culture Documentation is a multi-disciplinary undertaking which involves aspects of the following: Anthropology, Arts and Ethnomusicology, Dictionaries and Lexicography, Ethnologue, Language Assessment, Linguistics, and Sociolinguistics.