Orthography and language technology:
opportunities and challenges for Pite Saami

på svenska


workshop in Arjeplog • 14 - 15 May 2011

downlaod materials from the workshop heredownload the program here (in Swedish)


A language with an orthography is empowered by having an additional dimension in which the language can exist beyond spoken sounds. The orthographic form of a language allows it to cover time and territory which spoken language cannot. Written language is not only necessary for literature and print journalism, but is invaluable for dictionaries, pedagogical materials and other linguistic tools, particularly in digital form. However, the complexities involved in creating a quality orthography for small languages like Pite Saami is often underestimated and should not be taken lightly.

The main goal of this workshop is to discuss a variety of ideas and experiences which Saami language specialists, professional linguists and other language enthusiasts have concerning orthography and orthography development; in this, the focus will be on potentially all Saami languages. The workshop will be practically oriented and consist of down-to-earth, non-technical presentations concerning real problems and challenges, as well as provide plenty of opportunity for discussion. The knowledge gained from the workshop should not only inform participants, but should help empower them to develop better Saami orthographies and potentially to reform current orthographies on their own. This in turn will promote better quality documentation of these endangered languages and support revitalization efforts by spotlighting these endangered languages and helping provide speakers with better means to develop written and lasting forms of their languages.

The workshop will be cover three main topics: orthography basics, language technology, the link to language revitalization. There will also be a discussion round. Information on relevant topics will be provided by specialists via short presentations which followed by the opportunity for participants to be able to ask questions and discuss relevant topics.

Please note: the workshop will be held in Swedish/Norwegian.

The workshop is made possible by the Saami Documentation and Revitalizaiton Network (SaamiDocNet) with funding from NordForsk.

The workshop will cover the following topics:
1. the basics of Saami orthographies
2. pros and cons of existing Saami orthographies
3. loanwords in orthography and standardization
4. Saami orthography in public spaces
5. Saaami language technology
6. current wordlist project: insamling av pitesamiska ord
7. technical orthographies and an introduction to the Finno-Ugric transciption
8. language revitalization and orthography
9. orthography and standardization in pedagogical materials
10. orthography and linguistic diversity (experiences abroad and technological aspects)
Anyone is invited to participate, even those not directly connected to Pite Saami.

Register by sending your name and contact information by email or telephone to the organizer.

NB! There is only space for 20 participants (includes coffee, lunch and one dinner).

Joshua Wilbur (Pite Saami Documentation Project / SaamiDocNet)
email: j o s h w i l b u r ( at ) g m x . n e t
tel: +46-(0)76 14 82 54 9

download the announcement (in Swedish):

download the flyer (in Swedish):

  updated on: 17.05.2011