Audio Dictionaries for Unwritten Languages
Region: United States
Competency: Human Language Technology
In the Rohingya refugee community, ILAD is developing a dictionary app that will contain 5,000 words in script and audio. The Rohingya people are often pre-literate, meaning they are unfamiliar with letters representing sounds, and many have never held a pencil. Rohingya, as a language, is unwritten, though efforts are being made to formally choose a script and begin documenting this language. The dictionary app will be available in 3 scripts and the audio will be in Rohingya, English, and Burmese. It will be used primarily as a tool for Rohingya people learning English, but also for aid workers learning Rohingya language. This app and similar tools validate and elevate the status of the language and show the Rohingya that their language matters and has value.