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P-SAMISK-Program for samisk forskning

How can language technology make a difference? An investigation of the impact language-aware computer programs have upon Saami literacy

Alternative title: Hvordan kan språkteknologi utgjøre en forskjell? Ei gransking av effekten samisktilpassede dataprogram har på den samiske skriftkulturen

Awarded: NOK 6.5 mill.

During the last decades, the Saami languages have to an increasing degree been put into use in school and the civil society. In parallel with this, keyboards, proofing tools and other computer programs for the Sami languages have been made, to an extent that the Saami languages are relatively well equipped to meet the digital age, as compared to similar language communities. The present research project examines the extent to which these computer programs have affected the Saami language communities. This will provide insight into the material conditions for the development of Saami literacy. Does knowledge and choice of different keyboard layouts have an impact of the writing process? In what way do proofing tools and e-dictionaries influence writers when they choose what languages to use and how they write when they write in Saami? There has also been developed a machine translation program from Northern Saami to Norwegian. How does this program affect the writers' choice of language, eg. in social media?

The project will investigate the impact language technology tools have for different Saami language communities, and investigate this impact with literacy practices as a starting point. It will analyse and compare the situation for an indigenous language in a quite typical situation, South Saami, with the situation for North Saami, a language with a much stronger literacy than most indigenous languages.

Funding scheme:

P-SAMISK-Program for samisk forskning