SIL International Media Release
Sketch grammars for dictionaries–workshop in Cameroon
(August 2009) Linguists representing 16 African languages are attending a workshop this month conducted by SIL Cameroon in Yaoundé to produce sketch grammars suitable to introduce bilingual or trilingual dictionaries. The UK Kay Williamson Educational Fund (KWEF) will eventually publish several of the dictionaries in which these sketch grammars appear.
Working in various partnerships, SIL is involved in preparing multilingual dictionaries in more than 70 languages of Cameroon, both for the international academic community and for local language populations. SIL has been making dictionary databases available on their Cameroon website by publishing in two electronic formats—searchable databases and downloadable PDFs—with lexicons or dictionaries available in 32 languages to date. Approximately a dozen other dictionaries have been published in print, including the two most recent, which were funded by KWEF, one in their local series and one in their international series.
- Kejom (Babanki)–English Lexicon by Cameroonian Pius W. Akumbu (now a lecturer in linguistics at the University of Buea), with assistance from Robert Hedinger, SIL linguistics consultant, Volume 2 in the KWEF local series.
- Mofu–French–Fulfulde Dictionary by Ken Hollingsworth and Judy Hollingsworth, SIL, the first significant (over 5,000 words) SIL-compiled dictionary being funded by KWEF in their international series.
Approximately half of the workshop participants are local linguistics researchers or highly educated Cameroonians compiling dictionaries of their own languages. Held 3–28 August, the workshop includes daily lectures, but is primarily devoted to producing sketch grammars in the 16 selected languages. Tom Payne and Doris Payne, International linguistics consultants with SIL, are leading the workshop, assisted by several SIL Cameroon linguistics consultants.
Related links of interest
- Dictionaries, lexicons and other publications produced by SIL Cameroon
- Languages of Cameroon listed in the Ethnologue
- Worldwide production of dictionaries produced with SIL involvement
- Bilingual dictionary-making seminar (November 2008 media release)
- Dictionary Development Process (DDP)—12,000 words in two weeks!
- SIL FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx) software for sketch grammars and lexicography