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Meeting Millennium Development Goals
through local languages

Goal 8. Develop a global partnership for development
SIL views local language development as essential to achieve this goal.

Global partnerships among ethnolinguistic communities and national and international societies require communication and mutual understanding. Mother-tongue revitalization ensures that a language continues to serve the changing goals of its speakers and provides a bridge for the community to meet its broader multilingual goals by acquiring a language of wider communication. Language development facilitates the broader exchange of traditional knowledge as well as making the benefits of global information and communications technologies available.

Tai Viet script for modern computers

Tai Heritage design review Tai Heritage design review

Through a dynamic partnership of various groups around the world, speakers of several closely-related languages of Vietnam now have a font that is usable on computers and the Internet. The new typeface reflects the traditional hand-written Tai Viet script that is used informally in several languages spoken in the northwest provinces of Vietnam and surrounding areas.

The fonts originally created 20 years ago for this script are incompatible with current computer systems. Participants at a UNESCO-sponsored workshop in Vietnam in 2006 developed a standardized encoding for the script with input from ethnolinguistic communities in Vietnam and immigrant populations in other countries. Funding came in part from the Script Encoding Initiative of the University of California at Berkeley, and the Unicode Consortium accepted the resulting encoding proposal.

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