of an Electronic Training System for Generating Orthographies
of Unwritten Languages
Cultural history, tradition and practices in many non-Western
communities are preserved and passed from one generation to the
next through oral communication. However, as a result of increasing
globalization and evolving patterns in human migration, many
local languages and dialects are becoming increasingly scarce.
Some estimates place the loss of languages worldwide at five
languages per day. The majority of these languages exist only
in oral form, and therefore no written artifacts of the language
remain after the language is lost. In addition, the loss of these
languages not only results in the loss of the language itself,
but the cultures and histories associated with that language.
This constitutes a severe threat to fostering human and social
growth in a culturally diverse world. The United
Nations Educational, Scienctific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) has long attended to the need to preserve both tangible
and intangible cultural heritage. In recent years it has included
in that effort also the care for a linguistically diverse environment.
In this context, members of the LDI community have been contracted
by UNESCO to develop a training system for teaching field workers
how to develop an appropriate and accurate orthography for a
non-written language. The goals of this project are to:
Develop the instructional content, examples, and practice
and feedback components of a Web-based and/or CD-ROM-based training
system that will provide the target audience with a comprehensive
set of competencies for transcribing unwritten languages into
Develop the user interface and structure of the training
system in Web-based and/or CD-ROM based format.
Implement and formatively evaluate the training system.
The instructional design and development of the training system
is currently underway. It is scheduled to be completed by early
For more information on this project, please contact Ray J.
Amirault or Yusra Laila