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Good Practice in Language Preservation: The release of Online Torwali Dictionary

LisaCespedes's picture

This year International Mother Language Day on 21st February 2011, focused on using "information and communication technologies for the safeguarding and promotion of languages and linguistic diversity"...

"Information and communication technologies can be especially useful in promoting mother languages. We must harness the power of progress to protect diverse visions of the world and to promote all sources of knowledge and forms of expression. These are the threads that weave the tapestry of humanity’s story. " 
On this occasion, the Center for Language Engineering (CLE) at Al-Khawarizmi Institute of Computer Science, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore announced the launch of the Online Torwali Dictionary (OTD).

Torwali is a less studied indigenous language spoken by about one hundred thousand people in Bahrain and Chail areas of the beautiful valley of Swat district in the north of Pakistan. It is an Indo-Aryan language, known as ‘Kohistani’ among locals. 

This pioneering work of Torwali dictionary is an essential resource for language learning and instruction for the community and researchers, particularly because Torwali was previously unwritten. This addresses issues of orthography, documentation, and language preservation for future generations and promotes the community’s identity and culture. This project has been recognized by UNESCO as ‘Good Practice in Language Preservation.’

This work has been undertaken by CLE researcher Mr. Inam Ullah, who is a native speaker, and supported by Torwali community.  The project is funded by The Genographic Project of National Geographic and PAN Localization Project of International Development Research Centre, Canada.

This dictionary can be accessed from http://www.cle.net.pk/otd/