World Endangered Writing Day speakers announced

Online symposium to feature lectures on vanishing indigenous alphabets Jan. 23, 2024

BURLINGTON, Vt. - VerTimes -- The inaugural World Endangered Writing Day, Jan. 23, aims to help preserve and protect indigenous writing systems in danger of disappearing, and will include the following online presentations. All times EDT.

"A rare case study: Sikkim's Endangered Language Project" — 8:30 a.m.
The northern Indian state of Sikkim has more official scripts than any region in the world. What can the West learn from Sikkim? Speaker Samar Sinha is the Coordinator of the Center for Endangered Languages, Sikkim University (IN).

"What is Writing? From Exclusion to Embrace" — 9:30 a.m.
How do Western definitions of writing exclude many of the world's most endangered —  and most visually interesting — graphic meaning systems? Speaker Olgierd Uziemblo of the Sign and Symbol Research Group is a lecturer at the University of Warsaw (PL).

"On Script Extinction and Revival: Challenges and Lessons" — 10:30 a.m.

Recent research on writing in the ancient world gives important lessons for today's threatened cultural traditions. Speaker Pippa Steele is Principal Investigator of Visual Interactions in Early Writing Systems at the University of Cambridge (UK).

"Learning to Write: Type Design and Cultural Authenticity" — 12:15 p.m.
Type designer Kajama Chakma explains why she's studying Chakma history, geography and aesthetics in order to create a new and culturally-authentic Chakma font. She is a graduate student in the typography graduate program at the University of Reading (UK).

"Knotted Strings: Writing Beyond the Alphabet" — 1:00 p.m.
Explore the textile media that expands our concept of writing: khipus of the Andes. How did these knotted and colored cords record bureaucratic data during the Inca Empire? Sabine Hyland is a reader in anthropology at the University of St. Andrews (UK).

"Teaching an Endangered Script through MOOC" — 2:00 p.m.
Jue Wang Szilas presents her work on the pedagogical design of a multilingual Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on China's endangered Naxi Dongba script, plus preliminary results, and participants' feedback. She is a researcher and Enhanced Learning Advisor for language learning at the University of Geneva (SZ).

KEYNOTE: "Language, Script and Education Revitalization in Bangladesh" — 3:00 p.m.
How do you create a mother-tongue education program when there are no trained teachers, no published teaching materials, the community speaks multiple languages, and the region is militarized? Maung Nyeu is the founder of, a non-profit saving endangered languages and cultures.

"The Digital Future: On Digitizing Scripts for Electronic Devices" —  4:00 p.m.
Does digitizing minority scripts for use on electronic devices help to save them? Anshuman Pandey and Deborah Anderson of The Unicode Consortium discuss the process and the challenges.

Free registration:

Tim Brookes, founder

Source: The Endangered Alphabets Project

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