The project is planned to be a Pilot Project – where the methodology and experiences developed will be taken further to replicate the processes among any of the 1.800 ethnic minorities in the world still in lack of institutionalized written language. Save the Children Vietnam (or another relevant international co-partner if ongoing negotiations should fail) is intended contracted to upscaling of the methodology.
This basic project aims to develop a modern written vocabulary, lexicon and grammar for the more than 60,000 Vietnamese Co Tu who live fairly close together in the Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam Provinces. With education in writing and reading in their mother tongue language, instead of as today directly in the national language, the ethnic minority children will turn out to display their capacities three to four years faster than now, even when learning the national language.
The Norwegian Social Entrepreneurship company Faro AS initiates the project. This is based on cooperation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Humanities and with three Vietnamese organizations at national level. These are the Committee of Ethnic Affaires (CEMA); the Institute of Linguistic (IOL) under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and similarly under University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and with the CEMA-related institution CEM at province level in Thua Thien Hue province.
The project involves a chain of research and development processes departing from corpora language construction, annotation of the corpora, and vocabulary improvement to diverse databases, constructing grammars, and channelling the vocabularies into trilingual dictionaries (Co Tu/Vietnamese/ English), which will be stored on electronic form, ready for print on demand. The project partner NTNU will in particular bring to bear a free tool for minority language documentation – TypeCraft –, which will be further developed as a part of the project.
In parallel will be initiatives to integrate these opportunities and facilities with the Co Tu population. The challenge is acceptance for a “standard” written Co Tu language - commune for all Co Tu dialects inside of Vietnam. The methodology will be rooted academically both in linguistics and in social anthropology, and be executed as social entrepreneurship.
The project aim to make the methodology a national standard tool for ethnic minority languages restoration, testing this through the present project as a Vietnamese national pilot development project. The perspective is achieving higher quality, more efficiency and reduced cost on the anticipated following processes for the remaining Vietnamese ethnic minority oral languages.
The project is seeking remaining funds 375.000 US $ from institutional donors. At this time of application, the project has received 125.000 US $ as preliminary funds from Frostfondet – Norway, and initiation company Faro AS has given a warranty behind allocation of private company sponsors up to same level. Total project budget frame is 625.000 US $.
The implementation is planned to last three years from the time of fulfilled financed project.
Faro AS - Et selskap for sosialt entreprenørskap og utvikling – a company for social entrepreneurship and development