NML: "Writing an Unwritten Language" - July 12

Don Osborn dzo at BISHARAT.NET
Tue Jul 8 17:42:11 UTC 2008

FYI (apologies to all for not passing this on more promptly)



Subject: Writing an Unwritten Language - July 12 presentation at NML


Here is a fascinating presentation that will take place this Saturday at the
National Museum of Language:


The National Museum of Language




“Writing an Unwritten Language”

by David Weber (SIL)

A stimulating look at the range of issues that must be considered when
creating a writing system for a previously unwritten language.


Saturday, July 12, in the main exhibit hall, 7100 Baltimore Ave

2:00 – 3:00 pm


Open to the public.  Admission is free.

Reservations are needed because of limited seating.


Many have assumed that designing a writing system for a language is a
linguistic task and  should thus be entrusted to linguists. This has often
had very negative consequences because many factors should be taken into
account.  In addition to linguistic factors, one should

consider tradition/history; sociolinguistic factors (variation, attitudes
and preferences of potential users); political, ideological, and religious;
psycholinguistic and sensory motor;

technological (clay tablets!); educational; and esthetic.  We will consider
each of these briefly, discussing some of the issues that arise.


Presentation given by David Weber, a linguist affiliated with SIL
International.  He has done fieldwork with the Quechua of Huánuco in central
Peru where he has conducted linguistic research, educational development,
Bible translation, and software development.  He is the author of
Relativization and Nominalized Clauses in Huallaga (Huánuco) Quechua,
Grammar of Huallaga (Huánuco) Quechua, Writing Quechua: The Case for a
Hispanic Orthography, and primary co-author of Rimaycuna: Quechua del
Huallaga (a Quechua-Spanish-English dictionary), as well as other books and


For other related events, please visit our Web site at:



For reservations, please call (301)-864-7071 or e-mail
events at languagemuseum.org by July 11.


Please include your name and phone number.


Seating is limited to 25 people


Light refreshments will be served. Ample free parking available. Directions
can be found at http://languagemuseum.org/directions.html


National Museum of Language

7100 Baltimore Avenue – Suite 202

College Park, Maryland 20740



Phone (301) 864-7071


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