This project is to assist locals in Vella in the west of the Solomon Islands to start work on a dictionary in their own language. Solomon Islands is a country with many small islands and more than 70 languages, many of which are under threat of extinction. The Vella language community is very eager to have a dictionary of their own language. Their island/language community is relatively large by the standards of the Solomon Islands, but still they fear the erosion of their language under pressure from English and Solomons Pijin. They see a dictionary as a means of both preserving their language and increasing its status on the local and national stage. Because language status is tied to community status, this impacts on the perceived self worth of the community itself. A dictionary will help to build community dignity and stronger local identity.
This workshop will build on literacy training in previous years run by SIL Australia and supported by Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership of the Solomons, an indigenous organisation.
The project will involve at least 22 local people so that a wide range of words can be identified and recorded, assisted by 2 expat staff.