08 February 2008

Saving Limbu from Linguistic Limbo

There's a fair amount of acrimony flying around the OLPC XO machine at the moment, which is a pity. Because the real story is stuff like this old but still important post that I came across recently:

The development team at OLPC Nepal have been working hard on developing various learning activities for children using the XO. A significant area in which they have been making progress has been in creating activities to help children learn their local dialect.

The first dialect to be setup for use on the XO is Limbu. This is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by more than 300,000 people in eastern Nepal as well as parts of Myanmar, Bhutan and India.

This is a really exciting development and is a positive counter to concerns that the OLPC project will only serve to homogenise indigenous cultures. In fact, the project may aid the long term preservation and viability of minority dialects and culture which are no longer part of the curriculum in the traditional school teaching models.

I always was a sucker for those Tibeto-Burman languages....

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