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Nepal language survey begins

SIL Asia Area Director Ken Schmitt and Tribhuvan University sign a Memorandum of Understanding SIL Asia Area Director Ken Schmitt and Tribhuvan University sign a Memorandum of Understanding

(April 2009) A pilot language survey in Nepal is the initial step for a comprehensive linguistic survey of Nepal, which will be conducted by Tribhuvan University’s Central Department of Linguistics (CDL). The survey was inaugurated on 6 March at the University in Kathmandu, Nepal, and training for language surveyors began on 23 March. The role of SIL in the partnership with CDL is to provide technical input and training for linguistic surveyors and to assist with planning and management functions.

The survey proposal was developed at the request of members of the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal. Information gathered from the linguistic survey will assist representatives of the Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution for Nepal. Survey results will provide useful information for language development and educational initiatives in the country. Ultimately, language information collected will be available to researchers worldwide on the Internet.

On 28 November 2008, SIL Asia Area Director Dr. Ken Schmitt and representatives from the CDL at Tribhuvan University signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Present at the signing in Kathmandu were faculty members from the University’s Center for International Relations and Center for Nepal and Asian Studies.

The Ethnologue currently lists 123 living languages in Nepal, plus three other languages considered to be extinct.

SIL as a partnering organization

SIL's field linguists serve people who speak the world’s lesser-known languages by working in partnership with them and with local organizations to collect, analyze, organize and publish language and culture data.

Strategic partnerships between SIL, national governments, nongovernmental organizations and academic institutions create a network of expertise and resources to equip members of local language communities for leadership roles in their own language development efforts.

As an international nongovernmental organization, SIL has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and formal consultative relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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