LINGUIST List 12.2404

Thu Sep 27 2001

Qs: Perspectivity, Minority Lang Software

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>

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  1. Caren Brinckmann, "Near/Far East" in non-european languages
  2. Chuck Coker, What minority language software would you like to see?

Message 1: "Near/Far East" in non-european languages

Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 18:38:58 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Caren Brinckmann <cabrCoLi.Uni-SB.DE>
Subject: "Near/Far East" in non-european languages

Dear linguists,

I am currently writing a term paper about perspectivity in 
language. As an example for the influence of a certain 
perspective on a language's vocabulary I chose the German 
words "Nahost" (Middle East, lit. 'Near East') and "Fernost"
(Far East).

Since these terms only make sense from a Europe-centered 
perspective, I was wondering whether non-european languages
use similar constructions for the same or other areas on 
the world map.

Please send any hints to:

Thanks in advance for your help,

Caren Brinckmann
Saarland University, Germany
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Message 2: What minority language software would you like to see?

Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 10:51:15 -0700
From: Chuck Coker <>
Subject: What minority language software would you like to see?

About a week or so ago, I posted a question about computer software
localization (l10n) efforts. I have received a lot of replies from all
over the world and will post a summary in about another week. I want
to make sure all replies are in before summarizing.

Based on the replies I received so far, it appears that there is a lot
of demand for l10n for minority languages all over the world, from
languages as small as one fluent speaker left to languages with
millions of speakers. I've received responses from all continents
except Antarctica (if you're there, I'm waiting).

That leads me to my next question: What minority language software
would you like to see?

If properly designed from the beginning, software can be built that
makes changing languages relatively easy. For example, it might take a
lot of effort to write a word processor or an educational
language-learning application in Serrano. Once that is done, however,
making another version for Cahuilla would not be too difficult since
all the "hard" work will have already been done. Basically, English
(in my case) to Cahuilla text translations would have to be done, but
after that I could recompile the application and it would be ready to
go. (All of my experience so far is with left-to-right languages.)

I'm working on submitting a proposal to the owner of the company I
work for to develop localized software for minority languages. Since
we are a very small company, we could afford to take on projects such
as this. Larger companies will never develop minority language
software due to the small markets.

So what I need to know for my proposal is:

1. What kind of software would you like to see in ~your~ language? Any
kind, from a complete operating system to a simple text editor or
database. The more detailed the description, the better it would be
for my proposal.

2. What would you be willing to pay for each of the software
applications that would be useful to you? I am asking at what price
(if any) would you ~actually buy~ the product, not what you think a
fair market value would be. For example, you would use it if it was
free, but not if you had to spend money. (Please be brutally honest

3. What computer platforms do you use? For example, Windows NT, Mac OS
X, Linux/KDE, etc.

If there is not enough market potential for even the very small
company I work for to take on these jobs, I still might work on them
on my own as time allows just because I think languages are important.

Thank you for your time reading this,
Chuck Coker

- --------------------------------------------------------------------
Chuck Coker <>
Software Developer, Tyrell Software Corporation
23151 Verdugo Drive, Suite 204
Laguna Hills, California 92653 United States
+1 949 458 1911 ext. 3
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