SIL International Media Release

Fifth International Language Assessment Conference

When using the computer program PalmSurv—created by SIL in partnership with Taylor University—language surveyors transcribe wordlists directly onto a handheld device. The elicited data can be transferred later onto a computer for analysis. When using the computer program PalmSurv—created by SIL in partnership with Taylor University—language surveyors transcribe wordlists directly onto a handheld device. The elicited data can be transferred later onto a computer for analysis.

(September 2005) Over 120 people attended the Fifth International Language Assessment Conference (ILAC V) in Thailand this month. Staff from SIL’s International Sociolinguistics Department organized and hosted the event. More than two dozen presenters led sessions addressing current language survey issues. Attendees included representatives from partner organizations plus graduate students from various universities.

ILAC, held every four years, encourages the collaboration of surveyors with language program strategists and the planning of language surveys. The Conference keeps attendees abreast on the latest methodology and issues in language assessment. New surveyors learn more about what language assessment involves. Team leaders develop skills in training and team management. Administrators and surveyors learn how to establish more effective communication.

SIL linguists teach language survey specialists how to use Speech Analyzer, an SIL acoustic software program that records and analyzes speech. SIL linguists teach language survey specialists how to use Speech Analyzer, an SIL acoustic software program that records and analyzes speech.

Language research and documentation are core contributions SIL makes to the world’s understanding of languages. More than 80 fulltime SIL survey specialists evaluate language vitality, multilingual proficiency and linguistic similarity to neighboring languages—laying a foundation for language development. As a leader in research of the world’s languages, SIL has surveyed over 2,500 languages, contributing unique and significant data to the Ethnologue. Approximately 3,000 languages still need assessment.

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