Posted to the Ethnos Project by on November 14th, 2012

Ma! Iwaidja app on iTunes

ma-iphone3The Ma! Iwaidja app is an initiative of the Minjilang Endangered Languages Publication project (also known as Iwaidja Inyman), based on Croker Island in Northwestern Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory. This ‘touch and listen’ app includes:

  • a 1,000 entry Iwaidja-English dictionary
  • a 400-entry Iwaidja-English phrase book
  • a WordMaker with a ‘wheel-based’ interface allowing the user to conjugate body parts (verbs are coming in the next version)
  • an information section on endangered languages in Arnhem Land, and an introduction to the sounds of Iwaidja.

This powerful, all-in-one language app allows users to record words or phrases with their own translations anywhere anytime. Anyone interacting with the language in any way, including Iwaidja speakers, community workers, and researchers, becomes an instant documentary linguist. Adding a new word or phrase with transcription and translation is as simple as adding a new phone contact to your Contacts list.

In the next version of the app, which is currently being developed by the Croker Island-based project team in collaboration with Melbourne-based developer Pollen Interactive and designers David Lancashire Design, users will be able to upload their data to a curated web interface. The curation team consisting of Indigenous linguists will review and adjust user-uploaded data before making it available as an update notification. [Source: iTunes]

More from the Iwaidja Inyman website

Version 1.1, to be launched in May 2013, will essentially turn the app into a highly innovative state-of-the-art language documentation tool. With the setting up of a web server, users will be able to upload their new entries to be ‘moderated’ (i.e., checked for appropriateness and accuracy), adjusted where necessary, perhaps re-recorded where the sound quality is poor, and made available for download to all users of the app when they connect to the internet.

In addition to uploading audio and transcriptions and translations of phrases and words, users will be able to upload metadata relevant to the recording, i.e., who was the speaker, how old were they, etc, as well as an image (of the speaker, for example, or, if they were recording the name of a tree, they could upload an image of it). The date, location, and collector’s ID would be automatically recorded and uploaded with the other information.

As well as users spontaneously deciding to record a new entry, more structured use of the app is envisaged, whereby school students will be assigned the task of collecting phrases around a particular theme, or words in a specific semantic category (e.g., endangered kinship terms) and uploading them to the server to be moderated by members of the Minjilang-based Iwaidja Language Team.

We are already gathering content for a Mawng version of the app, and will follow that with a Kunwinjku version. The team has also had expressions of interest from speakers and documenters of other languages around Australia and overseas. [Source]



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