For a language to be viable (usable and embraced by users) in a global context, it means that the language can be used to communicate in a digital medium (text message, e-mail, blogs, etc). It also means having content producers and content consumers (consuming written and oral communications). It’s important that the language is being used in all levels (and ages) of society and that the language can communicate about any topic. Do people use the language on Facebook or twitter, or could they if they wanted to?While we were in Mexico last year Hugh crafted two keyboards, one for Me’phaa and one for Chinintec. How easy do you think it is for writers of Chinintec to send a text message?
In U.S. churches we often think of Bible translation as the production of a book. A book with words. What we rarely consider is the context that that book will be delivered into.
What other books are available in the language? What other reading materials exist in the language in any form – newsletters, blogs, medical information, agricultural information, education materials, posters, newspapers, billboards, et al. A larger amount of other literature in a language makes it much more likely that the people will become proficient in reading the language. And the best way to have more to read is for the people to write it themselves. Effective tools like computer keyboards are necessary for a community to be able to develop its own literature and embrace the daily use of their language in a written form. Please pray for Hugh as he is preparing a paper on the topic of keyboards in minority languages to present at the University of Cambridge this summer. The conference is entitled: Language Endangerment: Methodologies and New Challenges .
Header infographic created by: Anna Vital