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
Cameroon is a country of considerable linguistic diversity. Linguists have identified more than 236 languages. The government favors the idea of developing all local languages, but realizes the practical limitations of doing so. I suggest promoting language standardization on the local level as one possible solution to Cameroon’s problem of language development. By this I mean promoting a process by which one form of a language, or of what some may have deemed “closely related languages,” becomes accepted in the whole community as the norm for writing the language. Variation in the spoken forms remains, but people share a single written form. I review language planners’ suggestions and look at case studies to identify positive factors in the acceptance of a standard form. I also consider specifically what it means to promote language standardization locally in Cameroon. I conclude with a proposal for the “Mpo” language situation of eastern Cameroon.