High extinction rates and loss of biodiversity is a critical conservation matter. Twenty-two Australian mammal species have become extinct in the last 200 years. Of the 95 mammal species under the EPBC Act, 51 have recovery plans and 15 of these have captive components. Zoo-based programs as part of a recovery plan can ‘buy’ time for critically endangered species.
A SMARTPHONE app has been designed specifically for the documentation of an endangered Australian indigenous language.
The Ma! Iwaidja smartphone app has been developed as part of the Minjilang Endangered Languages Publication Project.
The project team, based on Croker Island in remote Northwestern Arnhem Land, worked with Mr Bruce Birch, a linguist from the Australian National University to develop the app.
The app includes a 1500-entry English-Iwaidja dictionary with audio, a 450-entry phrase book, a ''WordMaker'' allowing users to conjugate verbs and construct short phrases, and an information section about Iwaidja and other endangered languages of Arnhem Land.
Mr Birch said the app gives users the ability to record new dictionary or phrase book entries using the on-board recording capability of their phones, so people can customise their app by including, for example, new phrases which are particularly useful to them.
"And with the completion of the next phase of development (which is currently underway) the app will become the world's most user-friendly language documentation tool. With little or no training, users will be able to upload recordings of new dictionary entries and phrases to be moderated and checked for accuracy before being made available for download to all users of the app,'' he said.
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