UPDATE: Stretch Goal Reached!
Oh my gosh, we've hit $5,000! That means we'll be able to offer 10 different pre-configured language packs to backers upon launch, so you can compose entries in that language from the very start. We've heard your requests for German and Mandarin, and there are still 2 slots open - leave a comment on this project's page with your vote for what these last 2 should be. :)
We want to build...
...The most intuitive user interface for composing, reading and decoding language. We believe even languages such as the Sindarin of Tolkien's Elves can be revitalized and learned by thousands more with the right learning tool. A tool that gives you everything you need to know, in one place.
How it works
This tool packs together a translator, a dictionary, an IPA, the language's grammar rules, and much more, into the very page you're reading. As you follow along with your finger (or mouse) the phrase is instantly broken down in real-time, allowing you to see what the surrounding context is doing to influence each word. See a live prototype here of some of this tool's functionality.
We have decided to make this software open-source, and available to all backers of the project. This open-sourced linguistics tool will have many features, such as:
You don't need to be an expert; with this tool anyone can learn a complex language such as Sindarin. And with a flip of the settings, complicated morphosyntax abbreviations are simplified, making it easy to understand the author's intention.
This tool will sharply reduce time and increase the efficiency of linguistic annotation by allowing teachers to compose documents for students that include their desired syntax in each word. You can input all of your explanations and decisions using easy drop-down menus (or enter a custom note for those rare exceptions), and have it converted into a seamless interface that any reader can understand. See a demo of the teacher interface here . And take a peek at the Admin Panel layout here (click image to enlarge):
You can also have your students use this tool to submit their work to you. In the final version, extra features will be added to give access-control to tearchers and the ability to see a page with all entries - or mark certain entries public or private.
The Goal: Bringing Elvish to Everyone
While we want to build a tool for linguists everywhere, our main goal is to revitalize NeoSindarin. We'd like to consolidate all of Tolkien's notes and give fellow fans a clearer picture of NeoSindarin syntax; so that more focus can be directed toward its spoken/written use, and less to its puzzling decryption.
If we reach our goal, we will be building a vast, public online library of translated texts using this software, so that fans and linguists alike can understand it, and partake in its recreation. ~Please help us revitalize this beautiful language~
What we need to do:
- Text-by-Text Highlighting and Decrypting
- Database Import/Export Support
- International Phonetic Alphabet Support
- Morphosyntax to Common Syntax Toggling
- Members Database
- Admin/Teacher Control Panel
- Student-to-Teacher Post Submission
- Teacher-to-Public Post Submission
- Support/Customizability to fit any language
- Optional Sound Upload for words (so readers can hear them)
- Alphabet Display (show how the text looks in its own language: i.e. Tengwar)
- Presets: A list of commands you can save to your account, so you always decode your entries a certain way - saving you time.
What you get for your support!
Along with a personal copy of the software, here is what we'll give you for your pledge.
Disclaimer: Neo-Sindarin is a collective, fan-made language endeavor, and is not affiliated or representative of the opinions of the Tolkien Estate. This is an independently organized linguistic project, aiming to create a public/living language, not owned by any one person, but continually created by a population.
Risks and challenges
Language is a very complex thing, especially for a dead language like Sindarin. But with the help of our team's linguist Fiona Jallings, we're confident we can capture this language in its entirety. She is a 12 year student of Neo-Sindarin, English-linguistics major at the University of Montana, and founder of the popular realelvish.net website.
David Salo, the author of the reconstructed Elvish and Dwarvish in the Lord of the Rings films and Hobbit films, has also agreed to help advise our team and aide in the project's development.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)