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Language – Input & Output.

April 10, 2009

Many of my previous, or current guests have read my entry to how powerful and useful AutoText can be if licensed & implemented into S60 or the core of Symbian-Foundation OS.

Now regarding our normal text entry and output, to date EVERY single smartphone or phone has one method for text entry & output. Entry in the langauge you set the phone’s system to and to possible have it converted into another language [up to 3 on the E-Series with the built in system]. This works and works well – but to me its STILL static!

Currently my E71’s system language is set to English – I haven’t learned another language yet but considering trying French and Spanish. My E71 is not the only model to supports Nokia’s Mobile Dictionary language packages; E55, E63, E66, E71, E75, 5320 XpressMusic, 5630 XpressMusic, 5800 XpressMusic, 6210 Navigator, 6220 classic, 6710 Navigator and 6720 classic all are supported. Don’t get me wrong this language pack is pretty good but I’d love to have a better system. One that is integrated or allowed like  the language pack added onto Symbian phones S60 3rd Editions FP1/FP2, 5th Edition, and future Symbian-Foundation OS devices.

Nokia Mobile Dictionary on E71 – Slideshow

I don’t own a laptop, and if I did I would never carry it with me where ever I go. My E71 & S60 does go everywhere I go – so I’m doing my best to rely less and less on my computer unless its for training on supporting them.

There is an incredible program for learning languages available on WinXP/Mac OS X [Rosetta Stone]on your Desktop or Laptop personal computer – very in-depth at 3GB size on DVD. This is for learning an language that you’ve never had the chance to have high exposure to so its specific on memorizing what you’ve actually learned. However, I know many business users, my boss & supervisors, heck even the lot of you and my friends would LOVE an application that can integrate into the Symbian OS to be able to change our text entry (from say English) to another language (say Spanish) for output. But it must be intuitive so that we’d see the initial input completed and the output to another language is previewed before posting, sending, sharing, or saved (Memo, Calendar note, email, etc).

Now, lets think about this for a moment. How about a much more powerful calendar or phonebook sub-systems – or integrate such a program into S60/Symbian – that allow you to take advantage of a meeting with a specific person/people. A Phonebook that allows you to mark which language of preference that person likes to communicate in; so that your SMS/MMS text, Emails, and Calendar Memo’s allow you to communicate (send/save) in that preferred language to that person – or allow the built in Speech application read that Calendar entry memo, intelligibly, in that preferred language when you’re in that meeting and tell the Speech app to play. That is beyond basic communication – THAT my friends is what I dreamt about when I think of Nokia ‘Connecting People’.

Using dictionary applications like SlovoEd, MSDict, Nokia Mobile Dictionary and even MSPhrase may provide a similar solution if less powerful, but I’m unsure. I’ve only used Nokia Mobile Dictionary (I’m considering MSPhrase for next week);  it still doesn’t solve what I’m after or thinking about.

Back in Barcelona at Nokia World 2008 Nokia announced the age of the mobile computer – Desktop, Laptop, Mobile. Only now, I’m trying to actually implement this – and I’m hoping I can continue to do so with an N86 instead of the N97. This year, Nokia will be pushing Discover, Play, Share and Organise as the main theme of the year at Nokia World 2009. Many of us are doing just fine with Play, and Organise (N-Gage & E-Series), but the Share and Discover are going to have to focus more than just on GPS, Geotagging, and integration with the camera. By our very nature human beings LOVE to discover and the many adventures to explore around the world means being able to communicate (which includes sharing) in different languages.

This is one of those incredible amazing application opportunites that can be integrated [with awareness via aGPS api] into S60/Symbian-Foundation OS or as an add-on that ANYONE using a Symbian phone would love to have.

Here is some Facts on languages as food for thought.

Some of the data are especially worrying: out of the approximately 6,000 existing languages in the world, more than 200 have become extinct during the last three generations, 538 are critically endangered, 502 severely endangered, 632 definitely endangered and 607 unsafe.

Source: UNESCO Atlas of the Worlds Languages in Danger

In particular after reading this, as an exercise on The Language Dinosaur Complete the following vocabulary chart. It shows an interesting paradigm that should awaken you. To those readers, my guests, that speak other languages natively, try to complete the chart in your native tongue and please post comments as I’m KEENLY interested in success’ or difficulties.

The possession of language is what distinguishes humans from other animals. Many myths and religions express that language is the source of human life and power. In many African countries, a newborn child is called a kuntu, which means “a thing”. When a child learns his/her language he/she is then called a muntu, which means “a person”. Therefore, if language is so important to us, why are we allowing so many of our languages to become extinct? Many respected linguists predict that 80-90 % of the world’s 6,000 languages will die off within the next 200 years.

Why are our languages in such danger? As technology develops, borders disappear and cultures merge. Globalization is bringing the English language into every country, city and village throughout the world. English is becoming the dominant and indispensable language of business and communication. Why is English the chosen language? The answer is simply related to money; a disproportionate number of the rich and powerful people in the world speak English.

Many people argue that having too many languages only causes confusion. On the other hand, some experts warn that when languages become extinct, the human species is threatened. Just as biological diversity is essential to our environment, so too is intellectual and cultural diversity. When you preserve a language, you also protect historical, scientific and cultural knowledge. For example, when a particular native language is destroyed, we lose that culture’s unique knowledge of local plants and animals. When we lose our knowledge of local plants and animals, we might be destroying our only hope of developing new medicines and treatments to counteract the many diseases that threaten human existence. So what can we do to preserve our world’s languages and cultures? Just think about it, the language you speak today might be one of the language dinosaurs of tomorrow.

Source: The Language Dinosaur

And lastly …

The languages that are currently spoken in the Pacific region can be divided broadly into three groups: the Australian and New Guinean languages formed by people who participated in the region’s earliest migrations over a period of 20,000-30,000 years starting several tens of thousands of years ago, and the Austronesian languages spoken by Mongoloid people who migrated from the Asian continent around 3,000 B.C. The region has numerous languages, including 250 Aboriginal languages in Australia and 750 Papuan languages on the island of New Guinea (including the Indonesian territory of Irian Jaya) and neighboring areas. There are also 350 Austronesian languages in Melanesia, 20 in Polynesia, 12 in Micronesia and 100 in New Guinea (Comrie, Matthews, and Polinsky 1996). There is wide variation not only among language groups, but also among the families of languages. Few language families have been identified among the languages of Australia and New Guinea using the methods of comparative linguistics. Pacific languages are also characterized by the small size of speaker populations and by the absence of dominant languages. However, there are usually bilingual people who can speak or at least understand the languages of neighboring populations, and it is believed that this situation has existed for a long time. In terms of cultural factors, it appears that the diversification of languages in the Pacific region was accelerated by the emblematic function of language in the creation of a clear distinction between “ingroup” and “outgroup.”

Source: Endangered Languages of the Pacific Region by Osamu Sakiyama

Thank you friends, guests and the curious for taking the time to once again read my blog entries. Enjoy you travels, your mobile computer, and don’t forget to share and engage with those you meet along the way … Connect with People.

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