Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workshop in Papua New Guinea

In October 2014, Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson led a successful workshop at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (Unitech) in Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The event was the first in a series of workshops on digital literacy skills for documenting traditional ecological knowledge and landscape stewardship of tok ples in Papua New Guinea.

The Living Tongues team consisted of Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson, Rudolf Raward and Jonathan Anderson. During the course of the workshop, a total of twenty-one local students participated, along with Mr. Yat Paol, speaker of Waskia tok ples, who served as a participant observer. The event was made possible by a grant from the Christensen Fund.

png2Students hard at work during the data processing practical at the Living Tongues Unitech workshop. Photo: Jonathan M. Anderson, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.

png1Some of the Unitech students who participated in first Living Tongues workshop. Front Row (L to R): Yat Paol (Waskia tok ples), Simon Mark (Sau Enga tok ples), Echo Yawip (Weri tok ples), John Cowan (Nakane elders tok ples among Kuman); Second Row: Maiga Gerega (Garihe Nego tok ples), Apolion Beba (Woodlark Muyuw tok ples), Caspar Smakus (Kuman tok ples), Nelson Tololo (Nakanai tok ples), Regina Kiele (Idio Manus tok ples), Lovelyn Kila (Melpa tok ples), Rudolf Raward (Living Tongues Institute and Panau tok ples); Back Row: Unitech IT Assistant Maliso Lero, Israel Timi (Samo Kundi Arapesh tok ples), Living Tongues Institute Director Dr. Greg Anderson, Unitech Professor Dr. Garry Sali, Paul Mark (Narak tok ples), Isaac Karts (Wahgi tok ples), Jason Yonai (Aren Aiome tok ples), Sam Kumao (Kamano Kafe Kanaitu tok ples), Unitech IT Officer Elvis Jack. Photo by: Jonathan M. Anderson, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. Missing: Chevastrine Somu (Yabem tok ples), Christie Paskalis (Nalik tok ples), Mark Kamananaya (Trobriand Islands tok ples), Melissa Brosnan (Naasioi tok ples), Susan Madana (Tunggak tok ples), Valentine Kekele (Mekeo tok ples), Walai Gairo (Mindi Korakaro (near Hiri Motu) tok ples). Photo: Jonathan M. Anderson, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.

Thank you to all of our donors!

Without you all, our Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for Talking Dictionaries in Papua New Guinea would not have been a success. We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of our donors:

Tarek Milleron, Dave Prine, Jessica Illman, Anna Belew, Michael A. Hall, Allison Taylor-Adams, Laetitia Chaneac, Julie Kanakanui, Barbara Partee, David Robinson, Arpiar Saunders, Eric Raimy, Molly Allison-Baker, Robert Munro, Nori Heikkinen, David Nolin, John Ziker, Lee Wilson Ballard, Emily Gref, Mikael Siren, Ryan Henke, Robert Wessling, Sarah Truesdale, Katherine Vincent, Claire Catania, Ulrike Christofori, Boise State Linguistics Lab, Walid Saleh, Chris Donlay, Debbie Anderson, Carla Hurd, Fran Osborne, Laurence Cotton, Sema Balaman, Kimberly Jackson, Sarah Laskin, Audrey Van Herck, James Glenz, Edward Hess, Carley Hydusik, Tamra Wysocki-Niimi, Carl Franco, Bryony Rigby, William Graeper, Tania Reino, Ilona Staples, Nancy Mariano, Stephen Holt, Alex Francis, Alex Sinton, Carole Smith, Bewenca, M. Skelly, Les and Janice Lederer.

THANK YOU!

12 hours left!

We have 12 hours left to raise $2750 on Indiegogo. Our goal with those funds is to teach a 4-day digital media skills workshop at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (UNITECH) in which local indigenous students will learn how create new Talking Dictionaries for their own native languages.

Please help us out by chipping in! Thanks for your support!

DONATE HERE: http://igg.me/at/talking-dictionaries

ImageLanguage Documentation Fieldwork in Papua New Guinea: John Agid (left) speaking to Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson in Matugar village. Photo by Chris Rainier.

36 hours left!

Here is an important message from K. David Harrison, our Director of Research, about our current Indiegogo fundraising campaign:

Dear friends of Living Tongues,

This is K. David Harrison writing to you to let you know there are 36 hours left in our fundraising campaign to raise money for creating new Talking Dictionaries in Papua New Guinea.

Your gift will go towards training students to create cutting-edge Talking Dictionaries for some of the world’s most under-documented languages. Please consider donating today.

Donate here: http://igg.me/at/talking-dictionaries/x/420466

For those of you who have already donated, I want to say thank you for you generosity, and for helping language activists and linguists to safeguard linguistic diversity around the world.

Thank you!

K. David Harrison, Ph.D
Director of Research
Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages

ps. Check out the Talking Dictionaries we have already built, along with new ones for minority languages in Latin America: http://talkingdictionary.org/

Image K. David Harrison working with speakers of the Matukar language in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Chris Rainier.

Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign for Talking Dictionaries in PNG

ImageGibe and Pipe, Huli wigmen, in the Southern Highlands of Papua new Guinea. Traditional ceremonial paint colors: Mali-ambua-hare, Waterfall: Iba-Fugu. Photo by Chris Rainier.

This post is about our fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. We have 9 days left to raise $2750 that will go towards creating new Talking Dictionaries in Papua New Guinea. Please consider donating. Thank you for your support.

Background. Every two weeks, the last fluent speaker of a language dies, and humanity loses another language. Nearly half of the world’s languages are likely to vanish in the next 100 years.

Over the last decade at Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, we have worked with hundreds of people dedicated to endangered language documentation around the world. Through community collaboration, we have made some of the first-ever digital recordings of dozens of endangered languages, and we have traveled to many countries to train language activists in documentation techniques that can help preserve their cultural and linguistic legacy.
 
Papua New Guinea’s Languages. The island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) represents the greatest single concentration of linguistic diversity on earth, with 830 listed languages identified thus far, and an unknown number remaining to be scientifically documented.
 
Without PNG, no survey of the world’s languages would be complete, nor would our understanding of the current global process of languages extinction. With so many of PNG’s languages being undocumented and in danger of disappearing, now is the time to start creating recordings of these languages, and helping local activists and students to create materials that can preserve their languages for the future.

 

Our goal is to teach a 4-day digital media skills workshop at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (UNITECH) in which local indigenous students will learn how create new Talking Dictionaries for their own native languages. We have been invited by local scholars in Papua New Guinea to give this workshop later this year in October (2013), and we are raising the funds to make it happen.

Please donate! Our workshop is partially funded thanks to grants and donors, but we need a further $2750 to help cover the rest of our equipment and travel costs. Over 50 different local languages are represented at UNITECH. We aim to create Talking Dictionaries for 12 languages to start with, and then return once a year for the next 4 years to continue building more dictionaries with the students.
 
This will be the 4th time we teach a digital skills workshop of this kind, and the first time in the Pacific. Check out pictures and write-ups from our previous workshops for speakers of endangered languages (organized in collaboration with National Geographic) held in Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA); Shillong, Meghalaya (Northeast India) and Santiago (Chile).

 

What is a Talking Dictionary? It takes the traditional paper dictionary to a whole new level. It is an interactive online tool that digitally preserves words and phrases, and it allows the user to hear high-quality audio recordings of words in their language, as well as record and upload new content.

The tool is a powerful educational tool for communities that are trying to revitalize their endangered languages. The online dictionary is programmed to be bilingual so that speakers of the local dominant language can easily use it. It serves as a resource to help fluent speakers teach their native language to a new generation of speakers.

Talking Dictionaries help create visibility for minority languages on the Web. They are a virtual space where speakers can go to listen to their language, no matter where they are in the world. Take a minute to check out our Talking Dictionary Portal, and our new site for the Talking Dictionaries of Latin America.

Why We Can Make a Difference: At the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, we are a small and dynamic team with a low overhead. We coordinate big long-term projects, such as the Talking Dictionaries, on a modest budget. Supporting us is a great way to support the creation of tools that will preserve threatened languages for future generations of speakers.

Thanks to a Talking Dictionary, you can listen to forms of human speech that you’ve never heard before, and get a further glimpse into the rich diversity of languages spoken on our planet.

We have a good relationship with a number of communities in Papua New Guinea because we have done language documentation there in the past. Here are some images from our fieldwork in Papua New Guinea in 2009.

Please donate online to our fundraising campaign!

Thanks for reading.

– The Living Tongues Team

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