Huge response to survey on digital development for regional or minority language speakers
While the world celebrates language diversity on International Mother Language Day, the Digital Language Diversity Project is set to release the results from its survey on what speakers of four lesser-used languages want to see in terms of digital development for their language.
The EU sponsored project has conducted a survey on four languages: Basque, Breton, Sardinian and Karelian.
It has had a huge response indicating that speakers of these languages realise how important digital development will be for the future of their language.
The survey asked speakers about their current use of their language in the digital domain, including their use of social media, what they can access online in their language, and what they are unable to access.
Importantly, at a time where public services are increasingly only available online, the survey illustrates how many of these basic services are unavailable in lesser used languages, a situation which both acts to marginalise the language further as well as denying a citizen’s rights to public services in their own languages.
The survey results will give governments, activists, the language technology industry and academia, a detailed view into what grass-roots organisations and the actual language communities themselves are thinking about in terms of how they want to develop provision for their languages in the digital sphere.
In addition, the survey will feed into a Road Map for Digital Language Diversity which will guide policymakers and stakeholders on the way forward in how language organisations and governments can effectively develop digital tools which help the revitalisation of lesser-used and endangered languages.
It is envisaged that the current research will act as a pilot project for a more extensive project that will cover all European lesser-used languages.
DLDP, supported by the EU Erasmus+ Programme, is led by Dr Claudia Soria of the Institute for Computational Linguistics (ILC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), based in Pisa.
The DLDP partnership comprises the European Language Equality Network (ELEN), the department Sprachen Nordeuropas und des Baltikums (SNEB) of the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (JGU), the Basque organisation Elhuyar Fundazioa (ELH) and the Finnish association Karjalan Kielen Seura (KKS).
Speaking to the press, Dr Soria said that:
"Everyone on the team has been fascinated by the survey results and we’re very pleased with the huge response that we’ve had. As we analyse the data we are convinced that it will have an important impact on how we plan for digital development for lesser-used languages. For the first time ever we will have a real insight into what the actual language community needs in terms of digital development and existing provision."
DLDP Press Release