OLAC Record

Title:Writing Bisu: a community-based approach to orthography development
Abstract:Bisu, as spoken in Northern Thailand, boasts fewer than 1000 speakers. The low number of speakers plus constant pressure from the outside world qualifies Bisu as an endangered language. The Bisu themselves recognize this fact and their leadership has requested outside help in preserving their language and culture. On December 7, 1998, an orthography workshop was held in the Bisu village of Doi Chomphuu. Approximately twenty delegates from all three Bisu villages attended. The author and a Bisu artist had created pictures representative of all the Bisu phonemes (as perceived by outside linguists) to help the delegates decide how each sound should be written in the Thai script. Linguists from the Bangkok-based Foundation for Applied Linguistics and the Payap University-Summer Institute of Linguistics Applied Linguistics Training Program were on hand to assist in the process. Several fascinating things came to light during this workshop. First, Bisu and outside linguists' perceptions of how certain sounds should be grouped proved to occasionally differ (linguists hearing [s] where the Bisu hear [f], and linguists hearing [j] where Bisus hear [hj] for example). Second, it became very obvious that the 'typical' way that linguists since William Smalley have dealt with sounds that have no equivalent in the Thai alphabet (assigning new values to seldom-used/arcane Thai letters) was not at all acceptable to the Bisu. They preferred to represent these sounds with combinations of Thai letters. There is a certain symmetry in many of these representations, as shown in the "If the sound is not in Thai, pick the closest Thai equivalent and add raw rua" spelling rule for affricates.
Contributor (author):Person, Kirk R.
Description (URI):http://www.sil.org/resources/archives/60502
Extent:88 pages
Has Version (URI):oai:sil.org:4937
Language (ISO639):eng
Publisher:Payap Research and Development Institute and The Summer Institute of Linguistics
Spatial Coverage (ISO3166):TH
Subject:Bisu language
Literacy methods
Subject (ISO639):bzi
Type (DCMI):Text
Type (OLAC):language_description


Archive:  SIL Language and Culture Archives
Description:  http://www.language-archives.org/archive/sil.org
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OAI Info

OaiIdentifier:  oai:sil.org:60502
DateStamp:  2013-04-27
GetRecord:  OAI-PMH request for simple DC format

Search Info

Citation: Person, Kirk R. 1999-05. Payap Research and Development Institute and The Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Terms: area_Asia area_Europe country_CN country_GB dcmi_Text iso639_bzi iso639_eng olac_language_description

Inferred Metadata

Country: China
Area: Asia

Up-to-date as of: Mon Jun 15 4:44:51 EDT 2015