[lg policy] forwarded from Facebook: Saving Balinese

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 30 15:15:40 UTC 2014

Batik & Sate: WIKI tools for Balinese

 by Alissa


 A FREE Living and Evolving Dictionary to help the Balinese language
continue to Live and Evolve (and be a model for others)

Revitalize one of the world's linguistic gems by supporting a free
audiovisual wiki dictionary for the language of Bali - and be a model for
other languages!

This video[1] <http://#_ftn1> re-enacts this child’s actual experience
reading to his parents, stumbling on a Balinese word, and asking for a
Balinese dictionary.

Our goal is to bring together as much knowledge as possible to create a
Balinese-Indonesian-English dictionary that is relevant, evolves as the
language changes, is free and easily accessible on the internet, and
provides a way to see and hear people speaking Balinese in the context of
Balinese literature, songs, poetry, folklore, newspaper articles, and
blogs.  In the process, we hope to get people really excited about using
and promoting Balinese and we hope to retain one of the world’s richest
linguistic treasures.

As the MIT Indigenous Language initiative suggests: "Current estimates are
that fewer than a quarter of Balinese can speak their native tongue."[2]

Balinese children are increasingly unable to understand their
grandparents.Elders are increasingly frustrated that the younger generation
can’t understand lore of their communities and that centuries of Balinese
culture will be lost because people can’t understand the words.

This phenomenon is, unfortunately, well understood by linguists such as
those at the MIT Indigenous Language Initiative, who observe that:
“Language loss has a profound impact on indigenous and minority communities
and revitalization and maintenance efforts by concerned people can make a
big difference in the way the community values not only its language but,
even more, its entire culture.[3] <http://#_ftn2>

We’ve started by putting on line a dictionary originally based on Fred
Eiseman’s work and edited by a team of academic experts from universities
in Bali, the US and Australia. [4] <http://#_ftn4>These experts will
continue to collaborate with us by editing and fact checking as the public
adds to the wiki.They will also comb through existing print Balinese
dictionaries to add to the materials.[5] <http://#_ftn5> The wiki[6]
<http://#_ftn6> will include definitions in Balinese (translated into
English and Indonesian), sample sentences pulled from lontar (traditional
Balinese scrolls), folktales, songs, etc. and videos of native Balinese
speakers, registers, synonyms, usage notes, etc. It will try to capture
words in different registers and from different regions.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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