Forum for Language Initiatives, Islamabad held a two-day writers’ workshop for Ushojo language community in Bishigram, Swat. 14 people including teachers, language researchers, poets and young language enthusiasts attended the event. Most of the participants had attended the training under the orthography workshop series FLI has been holding for endangered languages under the Preliminary Documentation Project which is financed by Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program (SGAFP-USAID).
The workshop aimed at discussing the issues arisen out of the orthography workshop in Ushojo Community and deriving ways for their mitigation. Creating the story-idea, explanation of story-parts, various stages of story-writing, publishing the article and bringing solution to orthographic hiccups faced in earlier phase of training were what the workshop was held for.
FLI has been providing language documentation training to lesser-known language communities in north Pakistan since its inception in 2003. One of its targets, Ushojo language community has stepped up and entered the second phase of language documentation process by participating in training which are instrumental in preserving their culture. The resolution and passion they are showing to give their language a writing system are commendable and together with FLI they are very likely to preserve and promote their language. Their language, Ushojo is not far from removing the tag of being ‘undocumented’ as folk tales, idioms, anecdotes etc. of the language are being documented and the participants have started to write in their own language.
Writers’ workshop will be followed by more activities which involve advanced courses for language documentation. Publishing a book in Ushojo is a task under the project and the participants are working hard to achieve that milestone. We wish them success.