The Dictionary Development Process:
In April 2011 SIL International, Nepal (www.sil.org/asia/nepal) conducted a Dictionary Development Workshop in collaboration with Nepal Academy, the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN, Government of Nepal), and Tribhuvan University’s Central Department of Linguistics. An average of ten participants from each of ten languages participated (Athpariya, Lohorung, Yakkha, Yamphu, Lowa, Lhomi, Bhujel, Kisan, Urao, and Bahing). Participants learned and applied a process of rapid word collection using a systematic process of elicitation by semantic domains developed by SIL, and then continued the process in their communities (see www.sil.org/asia/nepal and www.rapidwords.net). Within six weeks each language group had completed word collection in over 1800 different semantic domains, glossed the entries in Nepali, and keyboarded the data using the WeSay program (www.wesay.org). Subsequent workshops in June and December 2011 helped teams to start editing and expanding their dictionaries, a process that has continued by dedicated editors from each community up to the point of publication now.
As introduced in the April 2011 workshop our desire from the beginning has been that many people from each community would contribute to each dictionary, and that the result would be freely available using the popular Creative Commons License (www.creativecommons.com). It is our hope that this dictionary will continue to be developed and expanded in the coming years, and that it will be a significant milestone for the ongoing development and standardization of the language.
SIL has been privileged to play a small part in helping to bring forth the Lhowa-Nepali-English Dictionary (2015) to showcase and promote the richness and diversity of Nepal’s languages through this dictionary development process. We look forward to serving many more language communities in Nepal in a similar way.
SIL International Nepal