WeSay helps non-linguists build a dictionary in their own language. It has various ways to help native speakers to think of words in their language and enter some basic data about them (no backslash codes, just forms to fill in). The program is customizable and task-oriented, giving the advisor the ability to turn on/off tasks as needed and as the user receives training for those tasks. WeSay uses a standard XML format and can be automatically exchanged with our linguist-oriented tool like Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx). Users can collaborate via USB flash drive, email, and network connections.
Around the world, speakers of lesser known languages are eager to develop their own languages. Part of that development will mean collecting stories for publication and developing a dictionary. In many cases, they are limited to working without the help of a computer. This is a difficult environment for computer use, as there is often:
WeSay is an Open Source project aimed at providing computer tools to help communities perform several language development activities on their own. It will be extremely simple, task oriented, and available on hardware that is appropriate to their environment. At the same time, these tools will enable data sharing with advisors running more traditional, high-powered linguistic and publishing software. The idea is to empower communities to do their own high-quality data gathering, leaving the more technical aspect of publishing to more traditional platforms.
WeSay will be of interest in those situations where native speakers are ready to play a direct, ongoing role in the construction of a dictionary and collection/transcription of stories in their own language, using something other than paper.
WeSay has various ways to help native speakers to think of words in their language and enter some basic data about them (no backslash codes, just forms to fill in). They can make local, simple printouts for local use, checking, and peer review. The program supports the sharing of gathered words via USB key or email (where available).