A) The plan
At the age of 14 I (user:Bovelett) started to learn the dialect of my German home town and also kept this interest during my study of the Dutch philology. The grandparent generation spoke the dialect actively and could communicate with dialect speakers across the boarder without any problems. The parent generation learned dialect in their childhood but it becomes more and more passive knowledge. To me dialect can carry certain facets of live which contain a common identity. All these dialects are very regional and some kilometers of distance result in significant, fluent changes.
The classical methods of conserving these dialects are made by institutions which mostly interview dialect speakers. The results are commonly presented in a written form. That takes a lot of time and effort but a wider public is not reached. On one side we have local societies which want to preserve their own identity and on the other side we have scientific researchers which use e.g. the phonetic alphabet. This is not too useful for the man on the street.
Since time is running I would like to propose a web portal using existing technical opportunities which are already available. The challenge is to arrange and to coordinate them. It should be based on living language = audio.
This project is not meant to turn back time but to motivate everyone to join as a co-worker to preserve cultural heritage with modern (available and existing) means in a time where people in Europe still would like to have their own languages recognized from either linguistic and political point of view.
B) The portal
- the best opportunity to preserve the status quo quickly and with high accessibility to me is a web portal
- all proposed technical needs exist but have to be coordinated and adapted
- all necessary fonts, phonetic and diacritic symbols could be collected in a database and made available via a text editor
- as a Wikipedia project everyone could join (language and dialect researchers and institutions, interested, amateurs, dialect speakers, language societies, culture and folklore associations a.s.o) the project and contribute (probably senior dialect speakers could be motivated to share their knowledge since more and more members of that generation use the internet).
- dialect speakers could upload single words, idioms or complete sentences via an open source audio module
- user, visitors and interesting people may join to help to localize the portal in more and more languages, just to start I consider an English base version but already with instructions in French, Spanish and German
- the format of the audio files could be the Ogg. This is also an open source standard used in Wikipedia
- the major point is about the local character of dialects so that the recognition by speakers and contributors are ensured. The database with audio files can be bound directly to a database which links them to geographic by clicking on the map. A contributor can directly link an audio entry to a specific location. The maps can already show and suggest dialect areas and boundaries so that the entries can be grouped.
- A page to create a kind of prototype is available on:
- if there is interest for this project there have to be resources to adapt the code and link the databases and the map. Otherwise I will try to create a tender for a web developer and will try to get susidaries for that fom the European Community: http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/understanding/fp7inbrief/call-respond_en.html
- I sent a mailing to all non profit organizations which could be interested to contibute:
- language and dialect organizations and institutes
- faculties on universities which deal with dialects
- associations and communities on private initiative with the local dialect as subject
In 1st instances I contacted language institutes in the US, Canada, Mexico, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Framce, Portugal, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, Czechia, Turkey & Germany. Most of their contact details found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_language_regulators
- Informational sessions by phone conferencing and presentations will be setup for coordination
- Based on the willingness of contribution I will negotiate between Wikipedians or whoever is willing to join about cooperation with the organizations
- language research institutes may have certain requirement about interfaces for using the contributed data for science or to add data they already have available
- embedding of their web-pages and vice versa embed the web portal into their web appearance to get more awareness. I think that could be possible since they are non-profit organizations
- to think about PR measurement in the context of a project supported by the European community
- A lot of opportunities for geomapping and audio recording are available. Please see again http://www.creativetranslations.eu/DialectWiki
- Create a downloadable version for DVD