RWC Workshop Motivates Mother-Tongue Speakers in Tanzania

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Ikizu-Sizaki word-collection group

(January 2017) Johnny Walker (SIL) facilitated a Rapid Word Collection workshop in Tanzania for two closely related language communities, Ikizu and Sizaki, with the goal of producing a joint bilingual dictionary: Ikizu/Sizaki-Swahili. In addition to the expected outcome of collecting more than 10,000 words, this workshop had an unanticipated positive result—a community motivated to establish a “dictionary committee” to deal with formal recognition of new terms in the language

This was the second RWC workshop that Johnny led independently after being trained in 2014, and he felt more comfortable in the role this time around than he did in 2015 when he led his first one. His increased effectiveness yielded the results we have come to expect from a fully staffed 10-day workshop: 13,504 words collected in 1,624 semantic domains.

What no one necessarily expected, but which everyone involved got very excited about, was the fact that this workshop led to the Ikizu and Sizaki communities becoming quite enthusiastic about their perceived need for developing mother-tongue terminology for modern terms like “computer,” “television,” and “radio” rather than just using borrowed words. It was decided that the decision for inclusion of such neologisms in the dictionary should be made by a committee that would research them well prior to recommending them. This "dictionary committee" is only an idea at this point, but everyone involved with the workshop—participants and organizers alike—found the initiative to be a positive and energizing next step.

Read the Ikizu-Suzaki RWC workshop report.

Rapid Word Collection Comes to Chad

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(July 2016) 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, Rapid Word Collection (RWC) consultant Kevin Warfel led a 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, stopped by to see how the workshop was progressing. Everyone was thrilled to point to the progress meter 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.

 By the end of the workshop, 13,084 words had been collected—more than most had dared to hope to achieve.

More on this topic can be found in this article on sil.org.


Fifty-six down; forty-four to go!

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(March 2016) As of 1 March, fifty-six dictionaries are now available on SIL’s Webonary. Newly published are Burkina Faso Kusaal Dictionary, Dictionnaire Mbule and Dictionnaire Moore. This online resource gives minority language groups the ability to publish bilingual or multilingual dictionaries on the web with a minimum of technical help. SIL is aiming to publish 100 dictionaries on Webonary by 1 October 2016.

Read the full article at sil.org.

Dictionary Projects Make Progress in 2015

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Bissa Barka word-collection group

(November 2015) During the first ten months of 2015, nine language communities in seven countries held special workshops to begin the process of building their dictionaries.

  • Bissa Barka (Burkina Faso)
  • Cøllø/Shilluk (South Sudan)
  • Kabwa (Tanzania)
  • Kemedzung, Chung and Sari (Cameroon)
  • Komo (Ethiopia)
  • Natügu (Solomon Islands)
  • Rapoisi (Papua New Guinea)

Additional workshops had been planned in Nepal, but they had to be canceled because of the devastating earthquakes that struck the country in the spring.

Read the full article at sil.org.