MALI—Trained in an SIL- sponsored literacy program, a local teacher writes a sentence and lists the seven Minyanka vowels. Translation: “She is very beautiful!”
SIL International® is a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to serving language communities worldwide as they develop the skills and capacity necessary to preserve and revitalize their languages. As an international nongovernmental organization (INGO), SIL actively participates in networks and partnerships—with government organizations, local groups and other INGOs—which are vital to the support of minority language communities in their own language development efforts.
SIL International grew out of one man’s concern for people speaking ethnolinguistic minority languages that lacked written alphabets. William Cameron Townsend started SIL in 1934 as a small summer linguistics training program with two students. It has expanded into an organization of more than 5,500 people coming from over 60 countries. SIL has conducted linguistic analysis in more than 2,590 languages spoken by 1.7 billion people in nearly 100 countries.
SIL’s field linguists work in partnership with minority language speakers to collect, analyze, organize and publish language and culture data. SIL workers serve as technical advisors, teachers, consultants and facilitators. As an international advocate for ethnolinguistic minority language speakers, SIL is dedicated to supporting ethnic minority peoples worldwide in their efforts to preserve their languages and cultural identities in the 21st century.
SIL makes its services available to all without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race or ethnic background.