Here’s a disclaimer:
I first came to Nigeria in 2001 on a short term trip to help people finish off a dictionary as part of a Bible translation project. I thought that might be the last of my dictionary-making, but even though it’s not really my job now I reluctantly find myself drawn back to it.
Bible translation projects require a good foundation of linguistics to work out a decent writing system and to help writers stay as faithful as possible to the natural grammar of the language whilst staying as faithful as possible to the meaning of the biblical text. Along the way some translators and advisors collect words into a dictionary. Most are never completed, never published. Some Bible translators eventually get round to working on a dictionary after the Bible has been published. Well surely that priority is right for a Bible translator, isn’t it? Yes and no, but mostly no, I reply. Continue reading Why Dictionaries Matter in Bible Translation
There is a fantastic program called WeSay for facilitating dictionary development. It’s particularly aimed at helping people gather and describe words in their own language even without strong computer experience or traditional linguistic training. It doesn’t replace analysis tools like FieldWorks, but presents a complementary approach and is interoperable. Where Fieldworks lets you document a word at a time completely, or organise lists of all your entries in whatever way you like for analysis, WeSay concentrates on doing one kind of task at a time, whether gathering words, adding meanings, adding example sentences, etc. One particularly exciting feature is that as many computers as you want can work on the same database and merge changes together. This – combined with the fact it has the Semantic Domains/DDP4 list of questions built-in – makes WeSay the best way of facilitating Rapid Word Collection, by far. Continue reading WeSay: Dictionary-Making For New Linguists
Here’s a great site about using WeSay to document languages and collect words for dictionaries from someone working in East Congo.
I’ve issued my first releases of keyboards for typing special Nigerian letters easily on a Mac.
These facilitate producing the following special letters: əɛɨɔa̱e̱u̱i̱o̱ɓɗƙ₦, and hígh tóne, lòw tòne, fâllîng tône, and nãsãl fõrms.
For linguists and Bible translators frustrated with the many problems of Windows machines (mainly viruses) this looks quite interesting: A beta release of Balsa ‘Basic Language Software Appliance’:
Did you know that the word littoral existed?
Or the word lory?
Came across both when browsing the dictionary of a small Pacific language. I thought they were typos; my vocabulary has just been expanded!
David’s tentatively launching a new site for translation teams to publish trial versions of their translated work. Ideas, comments and texts all welcome!
The first ever web site written in the Nya Huba language of northern Nigeria has been created! What’s all the fuss? Continue reading The first ever web site in the Nya Huba language