The Rosetta Foundation and StoryWeaver

Posted by Remya Padmadas on February 20, 2017


The Rosetta Foundation was launched on September 21, 2009, at the Action for Global Information Sharing (AGIS) ’09 Conference in Limerick, Ireland, by the President of the University of Limerick, Professor Don Barry. Its primary purpose is to make information available to individuals all over the world irrespective of their social status, linguistic or cultural background, and geographical location. The organisation's name is based on the Rosetta Stone. In 196 BC, the text of the Rosetta Stone was carved in Egyptian and Greek using three scripts - Hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek. The Rosetta Stone was written in these scripts to make sure that everyone in the world at the time could understand it. The Stone was discovered in 1799 in a small Egyptian village called Rosetta, which gave the stone its name. We spoke to Stefania Tringali, Production Coordinator about the foundation's work work and their collaboration with StoryWeaver.

What is your mission?

We work to relieve poverty, support healthcare, develop education and promote justice through equal access to information and knowledge across the languages of the world. Like the Rosetta Stone, the aim of The Rosetta Foundation is to provide equal access to information to as many people as possible.

Why is translation / making the world more open and inclusive so important?

We believe access to information in your own language is a fundamental and universal human right – one that The Rosetta Foundation is committed to preserve and protect.The multilingual information we facilitate makes a real difference in people’s lives. But the reality is that nearly three-quarters of the world’s population still has no access to vital information in their own language. The Rosetta Foundation will continue working hard on their behalf in 2017 and beyond, because access to information in your own language is a fundamental human right.

How are StoryWeaver and The Rosetta Foundation's mission and purpose aligned?

StoryWeaver and The Rosetta Foundation have worked together on six translation projects for a children’s book series into seven languages. We believe that we have a lot in common in our mission and vision. Both of our organisations work for equal access to the intellectual resources and believe that languages shouldn’t be an obstacle in this process. It was a great pleasure for us to work together and cooperate for the “Freedom to Read” campaign: it was a great chance for our volunteers to use their skills to promote equality and empower children all over the world.

The Rosetta Foundation logo is by Source, fair use:

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Helping teach Jèrriais to a new generation

Posted by Remya Padmadas on February 20, 2017

StoryWeaver is proud of the small role it plays in the preservation of languages. Our collaborations with language organisations, educators and NGOs has helped in creating joyful reading material in languages such as Konkani, Tibetan and Kora and Santali, thus ensuring that they are passed on to the next generation of learners.  The ‘Freedom to Read’ campaign was our effort to make many more stories available in languages that are underserved and underrepresented in the mainstream.

Languages like Jèrriais. Jèrriais is a minority, endangered language, spoken in the island of Jersey, off the coast of France. To pull it out of this status and keep it alive, various schools in Jersey have started teaching Jèrriais and organisations have been made to protect the language by promoting literature, music, and any other sources of the language. Anthony Scott Warren, one of the few teachers of the language, asked us to add Jèrriais to StoryWeaver. 

"In the 1990s it was realised by the States of Jersey government, that the number of Jèrriais speakers was in serious decline and that as there was no longer inter-generational transfer of the language, a programme to teach it needed to be set up.  There were no qualified Jèrriais teachers working in the Education Department, so the States outsourced the programme to Le Don Balleine, a will trust who set up L’Office du Jèrriais to run lessons in primary schools from the start of 1999." shared Anthony.

Jèrriais lessons began in secondary schools in 2001 and were optional and generally outside normal school hours. In some schools,  children could attend Jèrriais instead of assembly. "I was initially the only employee, but later the team expanded to 2.8 equivalent full-time teachers.  We currently are training two new teachers to take over when I and one other teacher retire." says Anthony who is hoping (subject to funding from the States of Jersey) to increase the teaching provision to 4 teachers and to run lessons in grades 4 to 6 (ages 8 – 11) in curriculum time.  "We also plan to increase the provision in secondary schools and to develop an immersion programme in nurseries and Foundation stage."

Anthony plans to use the stories  he is translating on StoryWeaver in his lessons, which are generally for beginners.  "I’ll be making laminated flipbooks to take to the classrooms.  We would ideally like to add the stories to our new LearnJèrriais website which is intended to go live later this year.  We are also planning to have a Story and Rhyme Time feature at the Jersey Library each week, and these stories will fit in very well."

jerriais 1.jpg

Currently  40 children are learning Jèrriais, but Anthony hopes to increase to at least 200 children per year in the next five years. We look forward to seeing more stories in Jèrriais on StoryWeaver and hearing about the wonderful work Anthony and his colleagues are doing!

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Chochichäschtli? What is that???

Posted by Remya Padmadas on February 20, 2017

Rebeka Gemeinder’s mother tongue is Swiss German (Alemannisch), a language spoken in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Liechtenstein. Unfortunately the language is spoken in increasingly decreasing circles every day. Rebeka writes about what her mother language means to her.

If you have no clue, you never visited the beautiful but small country in the middle of Europe called Switzerland. It is a country comparable to a chameleon not just regarding nature and people, but  the languages spoken here are of an unbelievable variety. Our four official languages are French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic and German.

But, to be honest, we don’t speak German. We have our own dialect which we are proud of. Many linguists identify the Swiss German dialect even as a  language in its own right. Every canton, every valley, city or even village has its own words and ways of pronunciation. Therefore, at school – from kindergarten up to university – the dialects get replaced by German. It’s a pity. A wonderful language full of tradition and common dreams and aims becomes lost.

Let’s change that! Save our mother languages! By telling stories to your children, you can take the first step. Your child will pass the language on to his  child and so it can’t disappear! My parents read a story with me and my siblings every evening. Oh, how much I enjoyed that! Then, of course, I read books on my own and in every language except German. But now, now I realise that my mother tongue is not just a language. It means home.

After travelling a lot and speaking in English, French, Mandarin and Italiancoming home and not thinking about every single word, feeling free, confident and understanding inside jokes is just wonderful. Let’s keep our individuality, our passion, our pride and let’s save the feeling of being at home.

Swiss German is important. It’s a part of our history and it lets our hearts beat for an amazing country with a huge potential.

And if you still need an answer to the starting question: a Chochichäschtli is just a kitchen cabinet !

Happy Mother Language Day!


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