[LI] IYIL 2019 launched; Adlam & Latin

Two language-related items posted to LinkedIn, one about the launch of the International Year of Indigenous Languages (2019), and the other noting an important gap in reporting about the new alphabet, Adlam.

Official Global Launch Event of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages,” IYIL2019.org, 6 January 2019 (posted 28 January 2019)

Official Global Launch Event of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, today (28 January 2019, UNESCO House, Paris, France) #iyil2019

Ibrahima & Abdoulaye Barry: How a new alphabet is helping an ancient people write its own future,” by Deborah Bach, Microsoft Story Labs, 29 July 2019 (posted August 2019)

This is a nice article & an interesting story. However I must confess to being troubled that it overlooks entirely the longstanding use of a regionally agreed on extended Latin* orthography (including characters such as ɓ ɗ ŋ ƴ) in Fula (Fulfulde/Pulaar/Pular) books, newspapers, and websites. This is much more than “sometimes [using] Latin characters to write in their native tongue.”

The use in the article of “Fulbhe” (which follows the Guinean orthography out of official use for 30 years) rather than “Fulɓe” (which is standard in Fula across West Africa) is a small but telling detail.

Without taking away from the article or judging Adlam per se, the story is also complex in other ways. For instance, was N’ko alphabet as used for Manding an influence on Adlam’s creation? What might be the effects (+/-) on education & 2nd language learning of an additional alphabet for Fula speakers? How can the tech community, including Microsoft, facilitate transliteration between these scripts?

* “Extended Latin” includes special characters outside of basic Latin used for sounds particular to or meaningfully important in various languages (e.g. in Africa, indigenous languages of the Americas & Oceania, …).


Other blogs > LinkedIn > LinkedIn articles & posts, 2019 (Aug-Dec)

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