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Mobile Apps for Language Documentation Workshop, 12-16 Sept 2016, Charles Darwin University

Archiving, Technology

Date: 10 August 2016

When: 12-16 September 2016,

Where: The Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University


Within the next five years, we can expect that speakers of every extant human language will have access to mobile broadband and social media. In contrast, today's language documentation technology depends on monolithic desktop applications designed for linguists.

The goal of this workshop is to work out how language documentation technology can be reinvented as a suite of lightweight web applications, and to take initial steps in this direction. Key pieces of the puzzle include:

  • a common model of linguistic data that spans primary recordings, glossed interlinear text, and lexicons;
  • a wish-list of software components for annotation, metadata, tagging, transcription, translation, etc;
  • support for collaborative workflows that involve linguists and members of speech communities;
  • user interfaces that make minimal assumptions about literacy or technological fluency;
  • a participatory design process for engaging speech communities;
  • implementation strategies that enable linguists to produce custom apps.

The workshop will consist of a variety of small group working sessions, ranging from coding sprints to consultations with linguists and language speakers. The workshop will be of interest to computer scientists, documentary linguists, mobile app developers, and speakers of endangered languages.

People interested in participating are invited to contact Steven Bird,

Sponsored by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University