Minority languages are usually only spoken. They have no alphabet and there are no reading materials available in their language. We assist these communities to develop their alphabet (orthography) based on the sound system of their language. Mother tongue speakers who receive training in phonetics, phonology, and orthography, participate in the process of developing their own alphabet with the assistance of qualified linguists. This is often a momentous occasion for an oral society as they feel that they have been recognised and placed on the map. This often has the effect of language maintenance, where people find that their language has new prestige. This is accompanied by a sense pride and dignity for the people and often leads to the desire to improve themselves in medical, social, educational, economic and other spheres of life.
We provide literacy and linguistic consultants who assist mother tongue speakers in the development of various reading and writing instruction materials in the mother tongue (primers). It is important that these materials are culturally-relevant and interesting so that the new reader identifies with the topics and enjoys learning. Local artists illustrate the materials which are then used in literacy classes. Following a systematic methodology, the primers guide the reader step-by-step to gain fluency in both reading and writing.
Since the people already know how to speak their language, they only need to learn the skill of reading and writing with their newly-developed alphabet. Once teaching materials are in place, classes are initiated to teach both adults and children how to read and write their language. A language committee is set up comprising influential people from the community and given training in their role. Teachers are trained and students recruited. We then continue to train, advise, assist, consult on and raise funds for literacy programs among these groups
Other Language Planning Activities
Along with this, indigenous authors are trained and further literature in the vernacular is developed, contributing to the corpus of literature in the mother tongue. Providing opportunities for indigenous authors to develop their writing skills is an important part of helping a primary oral society to become a literate society. We also advise and assist with developing bilingual dictionaries as well as other interesting and educational reading materials which are beneficial to new readers.
Funding & Donor Relations
We assist with the funding of start up literacy initiatives around Asia as well as with the facilitation of resources and donor relationships around the world.