Linguistics in Tanzania

SIL International

SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics) aims to "engage in the collection, analysis, and organization of language data", particularly with respect to languages that are not so well known. It then seeks to share its findings with the larger academic community, and also to give back to the indigenous language community a written language which is their own. In 1987 Dr Benjamin Elson, then executive director of SIL, composed a creed which expresses SIL's linguistic ethos.

Over the years (some 50 years), SIL International has developed an impressive array of resources which are available freely or for a small charge. Indeed, the font used in the title of this site is an SIL font. The computer programs available range from dictionary development to speech analysis to sentence parsing.

SIL International is concerned for the whole person, and it involves itself in a practical way wherever it can. The results of bringing literacy to a local community cannot be overestimated: it brings knowledge which every literate person takes for granted. This knowledge can range from farming to health care to the spiritual. One of SIL's goals is not just to bring the written language, but written materials. To this end it seeks to engage in translation work as is appropriate to the community's needs.

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