Summer Institute of Linguistics on its 50th year
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas () - March 11, 2003 - 12:00am
The Summer Institute of Linguistics celebrates its 50th year in the Philippines with an admirable record of accomplishments. It has provided linguistic research and vernacular literacy materials in almost 100 languages/dialects of the Philippines. The 50th Bibliography of SIL Philippines lists almost 3,500 titles of academic research and literacy publications provided by SIL for the benefit of cultural communities and the nation.

What is striking about SIL’s work is that its linguists have helped thousands of people learn to read as well as put down in writing heretofore tribe people’s spoken languages/dialects. With the help of the tribes people, the linguists have been able to translate books of the Old and New Testaments, produce dictionaries and manuals on primary health care and even cookbooks.
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The first SIL linguists arrived in this country at the invitation of the late President Ramon Magsaysay and other persons. Twenty years later, SIL achieved the distinction of receiving the Magsaysay Award for International Understanding. Today SIL is recognized as an international, faith-based NGO in consultative status with UNESCO and the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

SIL has partnered with the Department of Education, Translators Association of the Philippines, and the Linguistic Society of the Philippines, along with the University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Philippine Normal University and others. Numerous community-based associations in language areas where SIL has worked now carry on similar translation and literacy programs for themselves. MALEI in the Matigsalug Manobo community is one example. MALEI has won a regional award for its work.

The 50th anniversary of SIL’s work in Asia and the Philippines is commemorated in a series of 12 cultural postage stamps issued by Philpost. The weavings and traditional crafts represent the cultural communities with which SISL has partnered. The series of stamps is part of the Philippine celebration of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1994-2004) sponsored by the United Nations and UNESCO. The stamp series is a tribute to the rich cultural diversity that is uniquely the Philippines.

SIL personnel are recognized as consultants in language and literacy by these organizations. Research shows that successful national development is based in good education. SIL’s partnership in language development is a service to local communities and the development of the nation. What SIL began in the Philippines 50 years ago has now spread to benefit minority groups across Asia and the Pacific.

For more information on this admirable organization, visit www.sil.org/asia/phil.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC ASIA AND THE PHILIPPINES DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL OF THE UNITED NATIONS INDIGENOUS PEOPLE INTERNATIONAL DECADE OF THE WORLD INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING LINGUISTIC SOCIETY OF THE PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES SIL
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