Why can millions of people can happily speak languages that they can’t easily write? How do pioneer writers develop a natural written style for their language? How can mother-tongue speakers take responsibility for recording and carefully archiving some of the precious songs, stories, speeches, teachings and other communication from their languages? How do we transcribe texts in the post-cassette age? SayMore is here to help.
Using open, industry-standard file formats (ELAN) and providing convenient tools in a straightforward way, SayMore helps language development workers organise recordings. Some want to do this to preserve dying languages, but my own interest is helping pioneer mother-tongue linguists from very vital languages record and start transcribing natural texts so that they can start to figure out good ways of writing their language. People who launch into translation without having a good resource of texts written down to refer to find it hard to maintain a natural vernacular style without being too influenced by other languages. And the written form is not enough; often complex tone and grammatical issues have not been figured out at the time of first transcription, so a linked audio form for reference is vital.
SayMore is not designed so explicitly for new computer users as WeSay, but pioneer mother-tongue linguists in Nigeria are already lapping it up and getting excited about the way it makes recording and transcription so easy. Here’s a training video I made: