Thursday, October 24, 2019

[MLE] Resources from Odisha/Orissa

Dictionaries in 21 indigenous languages

Over the last several weeks the Multilingual Education (MLE) program of the government of Odisha came 3 times to my attention: A presentation from the recent MLE conference in Bangkok, an excellent video clip explaining how the program works in the classroom and the news that 21 dictionaries were published.

Odisha state has probably the most extensive and long-running MLE program in India. This presentation from one of the pioneers, Dr. Mahendra Mishra, provides some background on this. UNICEF made a very informative MLE Odisha video clip a couple of years ago to show what is actually happening in the classrooms. This 7 minute clip is, from my perspective, one of the best comprehensive ways to explain how MLE works in practice. Thank you, Swapna Alexander, who closely worked with the Juang community, to forward the link. 

Also good news is that the 21 dictionaries (Is wordlists a better word?) that were produced over the last few years have been published online. Global Voices wrote an article on this: The Indian state of Odisha publishes online dictionaries in 21 indigenous languages. It states that the multilingual education program was the driving force behind these dictionaries. Here is how they did it: “While preparing bilingual dictionaries and trilingual proficiency modules, resource persons from the various nucleus areas were invited to work on the texts with a well-organized non-overlapping time plan. The ‘nucleus’ area and the relevant resource persons were identified through conducting workshops in respective language localities.” Unfortunately at this point the online dictionaries are not searchable. It should however not be too difficult to transfer these dictionaries to a Free dictionary app like Language Forge or a site like webonary (See: Halbi Example)

Keep up the good work, Odisha friends!

Regards,
Karsten

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