Language mapping workshop begins

National 2 minutes, 2 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

AN eight-day language mapping workshop and field project conducted by the Language and Literature Bureau Department will provide the country with a map on the distribution of languages spoken in the Sultanate.

The workshop and project, facilitated by Professor Dr James T Collins, professor at the Northern Illinois University, will take participants and researchers to Mukim Kiudang and Mukim Lamunin in Tutong District. The project involves a two-day workshop and six days on-site works at villages in the two mukim. The department hoped that the project will open up more effective ways for the project to continue for years to come. Director of Language and Literature Bureau, Hjh Aminah Hj Momin opened the ceremony for the language mapping project and workshop for Brunei Darussalam yesterday.

The mapping is the first to be done in 22 years. A similar project was conducted in 1991 by Bernd Nothofer which resulted in the publication of ‘Language Map of Brunei Darussalam’. Hjh Aminah said even though the publication only provides schematic images, it gives an idea of language distribution in the country.

“Urbanisation has increased, not only in the capital, it also extend to the country’s rural areas. Secondly, Bruneians’ social attitudes to their language heritage are changing. Loyalty to languages (unique to certain districts) is also decreasing,” she said.

The director said the project was timely because Brunei’s official language and mother tongue had long been facing the demands and challenges brought about by information and technological advancement as well as globalisation that placed foreign languages in strategic positions.

“This phenomenon raised the possibility of foreign languages to influence the official language and mother tongue, which can lead to changes in the way the communities act and speak,” she added.

Despite the changes in the communities’ structure and opinions technological advancement, said Hjh Aminah, Global Positioning System (GPS) and satellite maps could facilitate mapping and on-site works. Hjh Aminah emphasised that the project have to be seen through a positive and wide perspective.

“The research findings will be the platform to show the development of knowledge disciplines. I am optimistic that the project and its participants will be successful (in their research),” she added.

“The department is also concerned with the existence, development and innovation of languages in the country, especially in the explosion of knowledge, technology and rapid innovation of new media that certainly change the ecology of official languages, including mother tongues,” she said.

The Brunei Times