SIL International Media Release
SIL Senegal celebrates 25 years of language development
(May 2009) At the invitation of the Senegalese government, SIL has served the peoples of Senegal through language development for 25 years. The partnership between the people of Senegal and SIL was celebrated on 30 April through 3 May in Dakar.
Among those attending the formal ceremony on 30 April were the President of the Senegalese Academy of National Languages and representatives from the university, Ministry of Education, and Directorate of Literacy and National Languages. Representatives from various educational institutions and nongovernmental organizations attended events, including an open house following the formal ceremony at SIL's Dakar office. The anniversary celebrations closed on 3 May with a thanksgiving service.
Language statistics and the contribution of SIL in Senegal
- National or official languages in Senegal: 20
- Local languages spoken in Senegal: 36
- Local language groups in which SIL has worked: more than 20
- Additional requests for assistance are prioritized for the next few years
- Total living languages in the world: 6,909
- Nationalities of staff: more than 15
- Population of the Francophone African nation: more than 12.5 million
- SIL works alongside many Senegalese and other African nationals, a number of whom have received training through SIL
The core of SIL's service focuses on language development, linguistic research, literacy and translation. Other areas of expertise in which SIL is involved include non-print media and ethnomusicology. SIL is recently joining with others to develop a fresh initiative towards a mother-tongue-based multilingual education strategy for Senegal.
SIL International and language development
The year 2009 marks an anniversary as well for SIL International, the parent organization. In its 75-year history, SIL has worked with over 2,550 languages. Currently there are about 2,000 SIL language development projects in progress. The SIL Bibliography contains over 35,000 references to books, journal articles, book chapters, dissertations and other academic papers about languages and cultures authored or edited by SIL staff or published by SIL. In addition to academic publications about lesser-known languages, SIL aims to leave a body of local-authored and translated literature in many of the ethnolinguistic communities.
SIL works alongside ethnolinguistic peoples whose voices are often not heard, by facilitating language development through research, training and advocacy. SIL is committed to ongoing training to further develop competency within those communities. SIL provides consultant help to develop the capacity of community educators and national program designers to create effective multilingual education programs.