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Re: [Multilingual_Literacy] Re: They don't read in Bamako

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  • Andrew Cunningham
    ... From the perspectives of libraries, it becomes difficult, if not impossible for libraries to support languages where there is limited publishing. A
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 19, 2003
      Don Osborn wrote:
      > I think you are absolutely right about the ideological dimensions and
      > the role of the establishment. Notions about the relative value of
      > languages go down to the grassroots in many way, though, at least
      > from what I understand as a foreigner.
      > Another element is the role of foreign development agencies - I've
      > spoken with people who have low regard for literacy efforts in
      > African languages, "since there is nothing to read" in those
      > languages. (A vicious circle of course, because there is little
      > incentive to print in the language if people don't learn to read it.)

      From the perspectives of libraries, it becomes difficult, if not
      impossible for libraries to support languages where there is limited
      publishing. A sustainable collection requires a critical mass (both at
      the literacy level and at teh publishing level).

      > It is interesting that you mention the Yoruba press and publications
      > in SW Nigeria. (The topic of Yoruba novels has come up on the H-
      > Africa list just now.) How common and easily obtained are these
      > now? Is there much in Yoruba on the web (I haven't seen it). The
      > next step, or an additional step, in materials for reading, is to
      > weblish - especially as young people gain access to the internet.

      There is project in the developmental stages at the moment in Melbourne
      (Australia). A couple of members of the local Nuer migrant community in
      Melbourne are developing a Nuer language website
      [http://home.vicnet.net.au/~naath/%5d. It is focusing on Nuer literacy and
      will be an avenue for distributing Nuer literacy resources across the
      Nuer diaspora.

      The is a high degree of illiteracy within the Nuer communities, and a
      number of projects in Africa and within the Diaspora outside of Africa
      trying to address literacy issues.

      The internet is seen as a way of providing access to the resources.

      The person who is developing the website worked for the Nuer lIteracy
      Project in Sudan and Kenya before migrating to Australia, and is
      continuing his literacy work here.

      Have a look at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~naath/literacy/folk-stories.html
      for a sample.

      > And indeed, ICT can be useful in teaching - literacy training, or
      > training of litrate people who don't read their maternal language
      > (there is a project like that in Cameroon).

      The combining of ICT and literacy programs has been around for quite a
      while. It has been used very successfully in a range of English literacy
      projects I'm aware of. The key element in these programs is providing
      the students with a mechanism for publishing on the web.


      Andrew Cunningham
      Multilingual Technical Officer
      Online Projects Team, Vicnet
      State Library of Victoria
      328 Swanston Street
      Melbourne VIC 3000


      Ph. +61-3-8664-7430
      Fax: +61-3-9639-2175

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