FW: 14.706, Media: Technology Revitalizes Endangered Languages

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at
Wed Mar 12 13:36:35 UTC 2003

Dear Uralists,

with usual apologies, forwarded from the LINGUIST list (Vol. 14.706), an
account of publication technologies used in the revitalization of endangered

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Institut für Finno-Ugristik der Universität Wien
Universitätscampus, Spitalg. 2-4 Hof 7, A-1090 Wien
Tel. +43 1 4277 43009 | Fax +43 1 4277 9430
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at | http://mailbox.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/


Date:  Tue, 4 Mar 2003 10:09:31 -0700 (MST)
From:  Terry Langendoen <langendt at U.Arizona.EDU>
Subject:  Article - Technology Revitalizes Endangered Languages (fwd)

Innovative use of technology breakthrough revitalizes endangered

VICTORIA, BC, March 4 /PRNewswire/ - There is an urgent need for
Aboriginal communities worldwide to have the tools to document,
archive and revitalize their endangered languages while enough fluent
speakers still survive.

Two Victoria-based organizations - The First Peoples' Cultural
Foundation (FPCF) and Trafford Publishing - are exploring ways to
support and enhance existing First Nations language programs and
encourage the revitalization of endangered languages around the world.

They have begun to use Trafford's breakthrough service in full-color
book publishing to create a series of customized full-color primers-in
several Aboriginal languages. Language revitalization is critical to
cultural survival; primers like this are much-needed by Aboriginal
language instructors.

"There are more than 6,500 languages spoken around the world," says
Simon Robinson, Executive Director of the FPCF. "It is estimated that
90 per cent of these languages will be extinct by the end of the 21st
century. Unless we act now to support their revitalization, thousands
of years of accumulated human knowledge is at risk of disappearing
without record." In Canada, British Columbia is home to 32 of the
country's 50 Aboriginal languages. By building tools and providing
resources that support community language initiatives, Robinson's
organization aims to help endangered languages thrive again.

In their initial collaboration, Trafford and the FPCF will publish
primers on colors and numbers. There will be five different versions
of the book - each featuring a different First Nations language. As a
testament to the speed and accessibility of Trafford's new publishing
tool, a proof of the first book in the series - a book in Sencoten
created by students of the Lau,Welnew Tribal School on the Saanich
Peninsula - was produced in under one week.

Future work includes expanding the series to include an alphabet
primer, books on conversational phrases, and dictionaries; and
translating the primers into other First Nations languages. The new
technologies will enable First Nations communities and individuals to
produce their own wide range of books in their own languages.

"We are really excited about the work of the First Peoples' Cultural
Foundation," states Bruce Batchelor, co-founder and CEO of Trafford
Publishing. "Our on-demand publishing system can provide the FPCF with
an accessible and cost-effective way to produce dictionaries,
children's books - any imaginable printed resource - in First Nations

Generally, once a manuscript and accompanying artwork are complete,
Trafford can have the book ready for distribution to classrooms and
retail outlets in as little as four weeks. It will be stored as a
digital file and printed on-demand using a Xerox DocuColor system

"Xerox has been a leader in Print On Demand since the initial launch
of high-speed digital print engines more than 20 years ago. Our latest
generation of digital printing devices, particularly the DocuColor
family of digital color presses, enables the cost-efficient production
of full-color books such as these First Nations primers," said Peter
W. Perine, vice president and general manager, Xerox Publishing
Segment Marketing. "In this high-growth area of Print On Demand, Xerox
is helping customers produce high-quality books in short run lengths
and quick turnaround times."

The FPCF and Trafford Publishing are making their announcement at
iSynergy, a technology showcase in Vancouver that was sponsored by
Apple Computers. The FPCF's programs and enabling tools (website
interactivity, remapped keyboards and customized fonts, for example)
are built on Apple technology. Trafford uses Apple Macintosh computers
for its prepress and production processes, and Apple 0SX servers for
its data-intensive networking.

The First Peoples' Cultural Foundation is committed to the
documentation, protection and revitalization of the full diversity of
Aboriginal language,arts and cultures. It has garnered worldwide
attention for FirstVoices.com, an impressive web-based Indigenous
language archiving application that it has developed and made
available online. Indigenous groups from Canada, Australia, Europe and
the USA are preparing to use the FPCF's tools.  www.fpcf.ca

Trafford is a Canadian-registered private company currently serving
close to 2,000 authors from over 40 countries. It has offices in
Victoria, BC (Canada), New Bern, NC (USA), Drogheda, Co. Louth
(Ireland), and Crewe, Cheshire (UK). Trafford is credited with
inventing the on-demand publishing process for authors of black and
white paperback books-now over 10% of all new titles launched in North
America use this process. Extending this service to affordable
full-color children's books is another world first.

See www.trafford.com/journalists for a backgrounder on this publishing


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