BASAbali - a nonprofit organization that provides electronically based vehicles that bring together anthropologists, linguists, and videographers from around the world, have announced plans to release the first multimedia materials for the teaching of the Balinese language.
The Austronesian language of Basa Bali is the native tongue of a diminishing 1 million out of 3 million people living in Bali, with the language’s written script already endangered. As with other minority languages, globalization and tourism encourages the use of English while, at the same time, the national language of Bahasa Indonesia increasing predominates as the preferred language of daily life.
Ayu Mandala, Program Manager of BASAbali, commenting on the importance of the new program that brings together a range of experts to create modern, engaging materials for the teaching of Balinese said: “ it represents tremendous progress for the Balinese language to be recognized as part of the universe of languages and for Bali to be well known not just as paradise island but also one that is rich which indigenous culture. The materials will help Balinese thrive even in the middle of globalization."
Money for the project was raised on Kickstarter.com, an online fundraising tool, which also produced donations of legal expertise, a sound studio, logo design, and publicity. “Desktop volunteers” found through Sparked.com came forward to design the website and produce e-learning modules. Balinese videographers were located via YouTube, while linguistic and cultural listsserves connected BASAbali with linguists and anthropologists. Transparent Language, a leading provider of language-learning technology, donated software and hundreds of hours of technical expertise.
The resulting material comprises 24 dialogue-based videos, language exercises, and grammatical notes that focus on modern, conversational Balinese.
Interactive modules teach the language’s endangered script. Drawing from the extensive body of literature on Bali, the materials also serve as a gateway to resources on Balinese culture.
Launched February 5, 2013, the Balinese language lessons are distributed, free of charge, to nonprofit organizations and community groups and sold to individuals for a modest donation of US$25 which is used to cover the costs of updates, technical support, and an internship program that send Balinese linguist students to elementary schools to teach Balinese.
Professor Windhu Sancaya of Udayana University and leading linguist for BASAbali said: “This project will allow people to learn modern Balinese since the Balinese language dictionaries available today are very traditional and have not developed in accordance with the progress of society and it will provide a new medium to learn the language.”
Professor Sancaya has arranged for 12 middle schools in Bali’s capital of Denpasar to use these materials involving 480 students in a pilot-learning project. This program also involves Balinese university students who assist middle school teachers in adding the new language material to their curriculum.
BASA: Balinese Language Preservation Corp is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to bring together experts on Balinese language and culture to create the first multimedia language materials for spoken Balinese and the endangered Balinese script and to more generally promote the use and understanding of Balinese. BASAbali will donate all of its materials to nonprofit organizations free of charge.
For more information contact Alissa Stern in Washington, D.C. at telephone 301-229-4573 or [Email]
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