A desire to learn more about and preserve Balinese culture, served as the starting point for American Allisa Stern to help lead an effort to create innovative software to teach spoken and written Balinese to Indonesians and the wider world.
The much-praised course is now in use in many schools and academic settings. Provided without charge to places of learning, the course material is also available to the general public on-line for a modest donation of US$25.
Speaking to Beritabali.com on July 8, 2013, Stern praised the unique qualities of the Balinese language and its philosophical, historical and cultural influences – all under threat of loss if steps are not take to foster its study and use.
Signs that the language of the Balinese is under threat are increasingly clear with an estimated 1 million active users remaining among the nearly 4 million residents of the Island.
A renaissance woman by any standard, Stern is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, with degrees in anthropology, has run a computer company and work as an assistant editor during the revision of a definite version of the Indonesia-English dictionary.
Stern is adamantly committed to the proposition that Balinese must be included as a legacy of world heritage deserving protection and preservation.
The interactive language module that Stern has prepared in cooperation with leading Balinese language experts also teaches participants how to read and write Balinese in ancient Carakan, linked to the Brahmi script of India.
The site had received rave reviews from academic circles in both Indonesia and abroad for the quality of scholarship behind its formulation and enticing approach to teaching Balinese. Language lessons are based on 24 conversational videos intermixed with language lessons, grammar explanations and electronic flash cards for vocabulary review. Cultural and historical note accompany each lesson.
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