Revitalising indigenous languages through technology
Celebrate te wiki o te reo Māori with us. The theme for 2018 is Kia Kaha te Reo Māori — 'Strength for an endangered language comes from its status, people being aware of how to support revitalisation, people acquiring and using it and from the language having the right words and terms to be used well for any purpose.'
- Date: Wednesday, 12 September, 2018
5:30pm to 7:00pm
Free. Booking is not required.
Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon
- Contact Details:
Willy-John Martin will facilitate with 3 thinkers who are at the cutting edge of technological innovations around indigenous language normalisation.
Te reo Māori and technology — where should the focus be?
What technology, thinking and strategies should we focus on so that technologies can be used to communicate in a language and manner that can be considered normal and natural?
Te Taka Keegan will address these questions and discuss some of the achievements and opportunities for te reo Māori in this arena.
Indigenous language and computer interfaces
Costa Rican academic Rolando Coto Solano will look at efforts to incorporate indigenous languages into:
- computer interfaces
- computer-mediated communication, for exmaple, chatting, instant messaging, and
- human-computer interaction.
Rolando will focus on current work on speech recognition and computer-understanding of Cook Islands Maori and Me’phaa, an Otomanguean language from Mexico.
Te Hiku media project
This year te reo Māori has leapt from nowhere to be in the top 1 percent of computer-recognised languages. This is thanks to an ingenious cultural hack utilised by the Te Hiku media project.
Douglas Bagnall will discuss:
- the Te Hiku programme
- speech recognition technology and its potential for language revitalisation and normalisation, and
- data collecting, which in the case of speech recognition ‘consists of people's voices, making semi-meaningless utterances at the behest of a computer’.
The future of technological intervention and indigenous language
Following these kōrero Willy-John Martin will chair a discussion about the future of technological intervention in assisting with indigenous language normalisation.
About the speakers
Dr. Willy-John Martin (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Tamaterā) is the Capacity Development Advisor at the Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI) National Science Challenge. His work combines Māori and Scientific worldviews, drawing on 15 years’ experience working in the NZ and Australian science systems on science that benefits Indigenous peoples.
Te Taka Keegan is a Lecturer in the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Waikato and chairs the Kāhui Māori of NZ's National Science Challenge on technology. At the centre of all of Te Taka’s research and work is a passion for the Māori language. His research expertise spans across multiple fields from:
- traditional navigation
- Māori language technologies
- indigenous language interfaces, and
- multi-lingual usability.
Te Taka has also been involved in a number of projects involving te reo Māori and technology including:
- the Māori Niupepa Collection
- Te Kete Ipurangi,
- the Microsoft keyboard
- Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office in Māori
- Moodle in Māori
- Google web search in Māori
- SwiftKey in Māori, and
- the Māori macroniser.
Dr Rolando Coto Solano is a lecturer in Socio-phonetics at Victoria University of Wellington, where he works in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies and the Statistics departments. He has 7 years of experience working with language documentation, revitalization and technology with communities in Arizona, Mexico, Bolivia and Costa Rica. He also works applying natural language processing techniques such as forced alignment to Indigenous languages.
Douglas Bagnall is a computer programmer who works on analysing video, sound, and language at Catalyst IT and Dragonfly Data Science. He recently helped Te Hiku Media develop speech recognition for te reo Māori.