Language Technology for Arctic Minority Languages. An unavoidable tool in Safeguarding against Language Death in the Arctic

Lead Author Per, Langgard
Institution Contact Greenland's University Per Langgard, P.O.Box 980, DK-3900 Nuuk
Theme Theme 3: Local and Traditional Knowledge
Session Name 3.3 Vulnerability and resilience of Northern Languages: ways to move forward
Datetime Fri, Sep 16, 2016 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text The all too common belief that language technology is a prerogative of only the more widespread of the world's languages is not only unfounded but utterly harmful to all minority languages. They are in fact more in need of the technology's services than the majority languages are.
The concomitant belief that development of advanced technology for minority languages is prohibitively expensive both in terms of money and human resources is similarly wrong.
In Greenland with less than 50,000 speakers of the national, polysynthetic Inuit language a few linguists with limited resources but with strong political and lay support have over half a dozen of years managed to provide advanced language and speech technology for almost as many aspects of modern society as one would expect to find in much bigger linguistic societies.
Greenlandic language technology is in high esteem everywhere in Greenland and solves or facilitates already quite a number of language needs in everyday Greenlandic life. Maintenance and further development is a key element in Greenlandic language preservation policy.
The Greenlandic example proves that it is doable also in small societies with limited resources and a case will be made to invite other minority languages to exploit the Greenlandic models and results to establish their own programs locally all over the Arctic.
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