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Workshops on SIL software for linguistic databases

(July 2010) The Institute on Field Linguistics and Language Documentation (InField) held 25 workshops 21 June through 2 July at the University of Oregon, USA. InField 2010 was an opportunity for linguists, language activists, language teachers and members of minority language communities to receive linguistics field training on a variety of topics that are relevant to language documentation, maintenance and revitalization. Approximately 70 participants—speaking at least 17 languages—came from more than 12 countries.

It is common for SIL software tools to be used in small- to medium-sized dictionary projects in many universities. Two of the InField workshops presented hands-on opportunities to work with software developed by SIL, FLEx and Toolbox. Participants were researching more than 33 languages from the following families:

SIL FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx)

FLEx facilitates building a linguistic database for lexicographical and text data collection and analysis. The workshop covered entering texts, adding words to a lexicon directly and by means of glossing text, adding additional information to lexicon entries, linking audio or picture files to words or sentences, sorting, filtering, bulk-editing entries, printing out interlinear text and exporting a dictionary for printing via collateral tools such as Lexique Pro or Pathway. It also touched on Toolbox data imports, collaborating with other users of FLEx or WeSay by means of LIFT and collecting words according to a semantic domain template.

Beth Bryson, a computational linguist with SIL International, conducted the FLEx workshop. She helps linguists model their language data in FLEx and has presented numerous FLEx workshops.

Advanced Toolbox

Experienced Toolbox users had an opportunity to work together on their own projects while learning new techniques from other experienced users. Albert Bickford, Ph.D., SIL and University of North Dakota, facilitated the Advanced Toolbox workshop.

During the two weeks of workshops, some participants also attended sessions of the Northwest Indian Language Institute.

On Sunday, 27 June, there was a 5 km "Race to save endangered languages" with 120 people participating in the run.

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