Technology for Conserving Language: Presented at Kannada Sahitya Sammelana

81th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (Jan 31st – 3rd Feb) happening here in Shravana Belagola, Hasana District, Karnataka. I was fortunate to have got invited to talk about Information technology for Language chaired by Dr. Chidananda Gowda. Dr. U.B Pavanaja and Ram Prakash H from Tachyon Technologies (Quillpad) presented on Kannada Wikipedia and Kannada OCR respectively.

In-spite of unavailability of technology solutions such as projector, internet connectivity etc., I could say we did our best to explain how technology can make difference to the way we look at language and how we can work together to save from reaching extinction.

Here are my slides in which I have tried to explain challenges of Kannada Language survival and solutions explored, invented and developed by few of us. First few slides talk about the carvings found in our ancient sculptures and how Kannada Computing Expert Shri K.P Rao’s Kadamba & Chalukya Fonts helping us to be able to continue researching on these. His work around ‘Apara‘ font which helps the non-kannadiga’s or those who cannot read Kannada scripts to read Kannada in their own language was also an highlight.

Inaccessible sources of data, government websites, libraries and physical status of many archives across country were the source of inspiration to think of mirroring our literary treasure on Internet. Kannada Sanchaya projects such as Vachana Sanchaya, Samooha Sanchaya, Pustaka Sanchaya and others were highlighted to showcase why we need to ensure that the literature should be made available in internet using Unicode and other standards to enable the researchers, students and also common people to experience and continue researching on it forever.

I spoke about the support we got from FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and Free Culture which made the work around Kannada Sanchaya, Wikipedia etc. possible. I also recalled how FOSS helped us make digital libraries reachable/usable to common man. Samooha sanchaya had just done over a week to complete its first milestone of having transliterated 2252 books and the same books can be searched at http://pustaka.sanchaya.net directly in Kannada. “Fuel Project‘ (FUEL – Frequently used entries for localization) which helps us get the community consensus to standardize the localization efforts for language was mentioned how FOSS communities can set standards and also ensure the language projects can take the best out of the resources.

Mobile solutions built by many Kannada IT professionals, Google Transliteration and Guesture search app capability of identifying Kannada on Android, Mozilla Firefox browser and Firefox OS phone were also the highlights of my talk to help understand where we stand today with mobile technology. Also the work that needs more attention here on.

My talk ended with a highlight on the Open Knowledge initiatives, Wikipedia Contributions, Books re-licensed under creative commons by Government of Karnataka’s Cultural department, Niranrajan’s works by Tejaswini Niranjana, and Mysore University etc.

Kannada should never be on endangered language list and It is possible for us to enrich the language for next generation through knowledge sharing, collaboration and by motivating each other by acting responsibly.

Here are my slides in Kannada. Hope I have tried my best to summarize the entire talk in English for my other friends who can’t read and understand Kannada. I shall make my talk transcript available online shortly.

Thank you,


Eiffel Tower & Vivekananda @ Lalbagh Flower Show

Eiffel Tower & Vivekananda @ Lalbagh Flower Show

We were bit worried to be late for the flower show as it becomes too much crowded and we never enjoy even walking around the flower monuments created at Lalbagh.

From year to year and show to show, authorities have been making big changes to flower show. Good and bad both are the ultimate outcomes.

To say a few good things, avoiding zig-zag traversals of visitors, now there is a single lane to get in and get out. If you want an another side view, please go out and get back in from the other end. It really saved me today and I think this system was introduced in August 2012 for the first time.

Secondly and the most happiest thing to be seen at Lalbagh during flower show – NO EATABLES and SHOPS selling food and NO MESS in the garden. It was really surprising but a much needed one. We always felt bad to get back to Lalbagh after the last day of any such events. Less number of stalls and easy and smooth sailing comes at a Cost. The entry ticket costed 40 Rs. 10 Rs more compared to last years fare. That doesn’t include parking though.

Those who are visiting from far away places, had to park the vehicles in JC Road. – Good again. There was not much traffic in roads except few days. But surely many might have cribbed to get back to Lalbagh from parking place. There is no easy way back except Nataraja service.

The most and worst thing that happened to Lalbagh because of this Flower show is the empty barren land created by authorities to create a large scale parking lot right in side the park. What a shame and an idiotic decision to cut down trees inside our historic garden of Bangalore. The work has stalled due to PIL filed. Hoping to see a green patch there again soon. Find more pictures from flower show on my Flickr Stream.

Photo Exhibition on Social Enterprise

Center for Social Enterprise Research  and Training has organized a Photo Exhibition on SOCIAL ENTERPRISE at Alliance Francaise, Bangalore. Some of our picture are also on display! Look forward to see you around.

here is a small glimpse of the exhibition…

Arivina Alegalu 2012 released

Arivina Alegalu sees its second release on August 15th as expected. You can now download the book from project page (http://arivu.sanchaya.net/ebook).   10 articles from enthusiasts have participated in our program to spread the waves of Knowledge for Common Man.

2012 release saw a change in the subjects that were covered. We have articles talking about nature, science, society, community, hacking, technology and our favorite subject FOSS.

“Arivina Alegalu” is now available on Android phones and Tablets. Don’t forget to download them via Google Play!

Cover Images were contributed by Pavithra and Mansore (http://belakindi.com) gives it a pleasant look.

Senior Journalist and writer Shri Chamaraj Savadi writes forward for the issue and encourages new writers to continue writing.

E-Book is released under Creative Commons. So go ahead, read, share and distribute….

You’re also welcome to write articles to Arivina Alegalu to spread your knowledge to other Kannadiga’s.

 

Arivina Alegalu – 2012 – You too can write

 An e-book on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) that makes technology accessible to even those who are confirmed e-illiterate.

Arivina Alegalu (which literally means “Waves of Knowledge”) is conceived as a project that will kick off a series of materials written in Kannada not only about FOSS but also on various other aspects of technology and science. “All these materials will be written, edited, reviewed by people working or researching on the respective areas and released under Creative Commons.

Project was initiated in year 2011 to celebrate Indian Independence day in a unique way.  This e-book is a collection of 14 essays by young software professionals to educate laymen on all things FOSS.

The participants write their experience about science & technology , FOSS etc in Kannada. Selected articles will be posted on http://arivu.sanchaya.net from 1st August to 14th August. Finally on 15th August, all the articles will be released as an eBook under Creative Commons license to reach out to people who love learning and making use of technology.

Its again a time to revisit this project this year and the Team Sanchaya invites articles for 2012 issue.

Last date for writing an article for being part of this project is 28th July 2012. 

Send your entries to : [email protected]

Press release – Arivina Alegalu 2012

Workshop on the standardization of Kannada Computing Terminology

A two day workshop on the of Computing Terminologies has been organized on January 28-29, 2012 at: Center for Internet and Society, with the help of CIS and (.net), under the (Frequently Used Entries for Localization) project. The workshop aims at the community review and standardization of frequently encountered computing terminologies in Kannada. Also, this workshop is first of its kind wherein discussion amongst Kannada linguists, translators, journalists, writers and users would take place and a consensus would reach upon the final translation of computing terminologies in Kannada. Kannada Evaluation meet mainly aims at solving the problem of inconsistency and lack of standardization in software translations.

FUEL tries to provide a standardized and consistent computer interface for users. FUEL Kannada Evaluation meet will be a concrete move towards the aforementioned problem and after the meet, FUEL will come with the standard translation of entries in Kannada language for the first time that are frequently being used by a normal user. This is a community project initiated by Red Hat. We invite linguists, translators, and users to participate who are serious to the cause of localization of computer in Kannada language.

Website: https://fedorahosted.org/fuel/ and http://www.fuelproject.org

Venue: Center for Internet and Society
194, 2nd C Cross, Domlur II Stage,
Domlur, Bengaluru,
+91 80 4092 6283 ‎ · cis-india.org

Start Time: 9.30 AM

Contact: Shankar Prasad +91-9967064285; Omshivaprakash +91-9902026518

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Report: Kannada Wikipedia Meetup -1

We started meetups around   on 12th January, 2012. We celebrated Wiki 11 with a long awaited meetup session. 9 people turned up Including Mr. Arjun Rao chavla.  ’s small little corner turned out to be a hot discussion point in few minutes. As we had few new editors around us, Introduction was given on how and why wikipedia can be the best platform to start sharing knowledge. Naveen and Prabhodh had joined us from FSMK to share their commitment to work with Wikipedia, and also explained why they would look for support groups to work on these projects. Naveen explained how support groups can help us grow steadily.
Discussion continued around topics like 1. Complaints that we hear about Kannada wikipedia 2. Why we don’t see regular editors 3. Support groups for those who seek help 4. Unattended support requests 5. Unavailable community around wikipedia to welcome and greet new editors 6. Why should new editors find Wikipedia Interesting 7. How build the community to be more active in terms of building the missing support team 7. Special projects that we can take up to make things Interesting around Kannada Wikipedia 8. Personal experiences about editing wiki  9. How we can prepare ourselves to better Kannada wiki state by July 12th on which we will be celebrating our 9th anniversary and so on.
Abhiram from Sanskrit wiki joined us to explain why he hopped in to Kannada wikipedia and started helping people around it and how Sanskrit  community working at present.
While Naveen and Prabhod mentioned about their monthly magazine for FSMK not seeing enough articles from the FOSS community, I got an instant idea of creating interest in people around us to work on a specific topic for the month and collate and contribute that to Kannada wikipedia and make it available / reachable to magazine readers. This can go along with a story on how the community could go ahead and use Wikipedia to build a detailed document to feature on its Magazine. This will inspire not only techies but also those who read the magazine to start contributing.
Shalini, Pradeep who work at Serverlots on a research project called Alipi (http://janastu.org/technoscience/index.php/Alipi) which is a re-narration project of the hub understood how wikipedia works and new possibilities of reaching out to community.
Raghavendra, a linguist & a journalist joined the meetup happily to understand how he can help us better quality of Articles contributed by Google Translation team in which he had worked earlier.
Arjun shared his learnings from Telugu wikipedia and encouraged us to find the new possibilities to engage more people on Kannada Wikipedia.
We were expecting Thejesh GN who was found to be the first Kannada Wiki editor in early days of Kannada wikipedia, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it for the event. Wish to meet him in upcoming meetups along with others who missed it.
Before i close this report: Here is something that we had to talk about during our meetup.
A mail that I received from one of our top most Kannada wiki contributor Mr. Holalkere Lakshmi venkatesh. On request to reach out to wikipedian’s during our first meetup, he had sent an email about Kannada wikipedia from Mumbai. Kannada wikipedia’s present state and how he wishes to to see in future could be found in his email.  I’m sharing it here along with this email for all to see the.
———–
Here are some of my wishes about how Kannada Wikipedia should proceed in the coming years !
The truths about kannada wikipedia :
We were sleeping almost from centuries, with out improving our mother tounge, keeping in view of some totally unrealistic goals. Even when we watch some kannada programmes on Chandana, the Anchor will be narrating the events, etc; in high language, with lots of adjuctives added to it, more than it deserves. Every thing is superficial non realistic and almost not practical for the present day situation.
Let us start, from here.
What is our role ?
kannada is rich, we hear. But is it true ? yes and no. Provided if we contribute a bit to its growth. We are supposed to read a lot to enrich our knowledge and later find some words new, or borrow some from some where, and see whether it fits to the context.
Pro. G. T. Narayana rao, T.R.Anantharamu, Pro. HRRRao, Dr. Pavanaja, Hegde, and others so many of them have been doing a great job in finding some equivalent Scientific words for the writers.  We have to be in costant touch of their work. Later some thing we have to contribute.
This is not easy. First let us contribute some articles in kannda wikipedia. They can be biographies, and about the people next door who are doing some good work, they might not have Ph.Ds or M.Techs added to the end of their names. Doesn’t matter. We have to  read them throughly.
What we do when we get a doubt about some word or place or name ? Refer Dictionary, or Encyclopedia, or ask some one . Right ?
But just a click distance we have the entire world is unfolded infront of us- free of charge.
Why not use it ?
Here the English wikipedia comes to our mind immediately.  It is well developed and has real wealth of information. That is well managed by competent people with dedication hard work, with upto date information  and love for the language. That is how it is treated as a full enclyclopedia.
In Kannada, and many of our regional languages, we do not have one. Why ?
We are not striving hard to have one. Create one.
We do not love our mother tongue. We won’t read kannada literature. We do not contribute to it. Earlier days during our time, letter writing was there. But that great art has gone to dust bin; and our skill in writing a good sentence,  or narrating  a story to our own children has a back seet, and the Idiot box has taken over that place !  We are struggling with SMS language skill.
That is part of history. What we have been facing from our childhood days to this day.
So, no one has tobe blamed.
We are the makers and destroyers of our own follies.
Let us add something to the already existing articles.
Just like in English enclyopedia, we have to develop on the same lines. Gradually we can go stronger by innovating it.
The new generation boys and girls are having lots of skills as for Computer technology and skill in making the things much faster than the old timers. This plus point should be encashed.
Unless you have kannda knowledge you can not make a good article. We have appropriate words to match the English words. Only way is bring the english words as they are in kannada, and try to borrow words from hindi, urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali etc; they can borrow some from kannada.
Rest is when one starts writing in wikipedia one explores the necessity of finding the new ways and avenues !
Good luck and have a nice time.
I am a blogger. That way, I could improve my language skills.
When an old timer (68), with out the Computer skills whatsoever,  can make some thing in wikipedia,  you can do wonders !
Wish you best of luck,
My real name is :
(ಹೊಳಲ್ಕೆರೆ ರಂಗರಾವ್ ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮೀವೆಂಕಟೇಶ್)
ನನ್ನ ತಾಯಿಯವರ ಹೆಸರು : ರಾಧಮ್ಮ ಮತ್ತು ತಂದೆಯವರ ಹೆಸರು : ರಂಗರಾಯರು.
I use the following names while writing in Wikipedia.
-Radhatanaya(Purely for kannada wikipedia articles)
-Rangakuvara(Use this name when I write for English wikipedia, some articles have been written in kannada also)
—————-
Wiki meetup page is available here:- :/೧ – ವಿಕಿಪೀಡಿಯ http://bit.ly/znfmmH
It was fun, interesting and there was much sharing… Wish to see more of this with growing Kannada Wikipedia!

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Wikipedia turns Eleven

Wikimedians in cordially invites you to attend the 11th anniversary celebrations in Bangalore !

15th January 2012 is the 11th Anniversary of Wikipedia !

The Wikimedia India Chapter turned one year on 3rd Jan 2012 !

Join us to celebrate the Wikipedia anniversary at the 41st Wiki-meetup in Bangalore.

And Cake – cutting too !

Date : Sunday, 15-January-2012 Time: 4:00 PM IST

Venue : The Centre for Internet and Society, No. 194, , 2nd ‘C’ Cross, 4th Main Domlur 2nd Stage , Opposite to Domlur Club, Bangalore 560 071

Agenda :
Introductions.
Welcoming , and About Wikipedia 11 and other Wikipedia Projects
15 Minute Google hangout with all cities that are doing parallel events at the same time 4:30 PM
Wikimedia India Chapter – 1 year
Launch of Wikimedia Portals –
Cake Cutting
More details : http://wiki.wikimedia.in/WikiMeetups/Bangalore/Bangalore41
https://www.facebook.com/events/327765823923926/ ( Facebook invite)

7 other Indian cities are also celebrating …. Are you attending? http://wiki.wikimedia.in/Eleven

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