In October, we had the opportunity to be two of three main presenters at a workshop on using FieldWorks Language Explorer, a computer program, for creating dictionaries. A total of 60 student participants from Malaysia and abroad took part in the workshop. Most of the participants were from the ethnolinguistic minority communities of Sabah and Sarawak (two “states” in Malaysia). Many participants were already in the beginning stages of starting a community-based dictionary. In addition to the training component, the workshop also provided opportunities for researchers to discuss issues pertaining to language and culture documentation.
The University of Malaysia Sabah (UMS), representative expressed, “This workshop will not only make available the technical expertise and training in utilizing the FieldWorks software…but will also act as a platform for the exchange of [participants’] knowledge gleaned from multidisciplinary research…It is our hope that participants in this week’s workshop will learn to use the Fieldworks software as a tool for both dictionary compilation and also for storing ethnographic data, with a view to documenting their cultural heritage and developing more literacy materials in their mother tongues.”