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SIL presents papers at International conference on endangered languages

International Conference on Austronesian Endangered Language Documentation Logo (June 2007) The International Conference on Austronesian Endangered Language Documentation convened at Providence University, Taiwan, 5–7 June 2007, with three papers presented on the first day by SIL International linguists and software developers.

J. Stephen Quakenbush, PhD, Academic Services Coordinator, SIL International-Asia was invited to present a paper entitled "SIL International and Endangered Austronesian Languages," in which he chronicled over 54 years of SIL's work with language communities in Asia and the Pacific.

Two other SIL papers were part of the session on software and e-learning, "WeSay: A tool for engaging communities in language documentation," was presented by SIL software developers Eric Albright and John Hatton. The WeSay software project is a partnership between SIL and Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The third paper described new software that permits a researcher to insert custom flags into texts for analysis. "Documenting Texts with Discourse Profiler's Metatagging System," was presented by Phil Quick, PhD.

Screenshot of WeSay dictionary software

Screenshot of WeSay dictionary software

This conference gathered international scholars to present the results of documenting endangered Austronesian languages and training others for language documentation. Oral presentations and poster sessions addressed topics related to digital archiving, language corpus building, language revitalization, language transmission, capacity building and e learning. Two exhibition sessions displayed language documentation Web sites, software, books, journals, products etc. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of Language Documentation & Conservation (LD&C), to be co-edited by Victoria Rau and Margaret Florey. LD&C is a new, refereed, online journal by the University of Hawai'i Press.

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