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BASAbali.org Wins International Award for Creating OnLine Balinese Dictionary and Language Learning Platform.
The State News Agency Antara reports that special websites dedicated to sharing knowledge of the Balinese language and Balinese culture has won the Linguapax International Award for its work in the revitalization of the Basa Bali (the Balinese language) in the new millennium.
Gde Nala Antaram, a director of BASAbali.org, speaking at a press conference in Bali on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 said: “From BASAbali Wiki, everyone can study Balinese. More than 80 countries have already accessed the website. The BASAbali Wiki Dictionary can be accessed via the Internet and is even available in an android application.”
Nala Antara, who is also an academic at Bali’s prestigious Udayana University, said Basabali.org represents a community dedicated to the preservation of the Balinese language online. Members of the Community supporting the language initiative come from every walk of life, including anthropologists, experts in the Balinese language, professors, teachers, university students and the general public.
The award from Linguapax – an organization based in Spain – was presented on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at the ARMA Museum in Ubud by the President of the Linguapax Council, Monica Perena. The plans for the awards ceremony (subject to weather conditions) included performances by the renowned Wayang Listrik Group led by I Made Sidia and the zany all-female comedy group Gebebong Goyang.
The international award given to BASAbali Wiki, said Nala Antara, reflects a collaboration between the public and the pioneers, both in Indonesia and living abroad - all dedicated to preserving the Balinese language in the digital era.
Continuing, Nala said: “The goal from the founding of BASAbali Wiki has been to promote the Balinese language which we felt was slowly being abandoned by the younger generation and to use and continue the language’s development in a digital way via BASAbali.org that was launched in 2011. At this time, we are creating software to help high school students in Denpasar study Balinese.”
In 2014, BASAbali Wiki was launched to create a dynamic online dictionary accessible anywhere in the world. “By being able to study Balinese anywhere, hopefully the language will develop,” said Nala Antara.
“I don’t think Balinese is under threat. The presence of local languages must be protected and developed as well as supported by government regulation. Speakers of local languages must be motivated to use their local languages, particularly in the family setting, in order to create a sense of pride in the use of local languages,” said Nala.
The Founder of Basabali.org and BASAbali Wiki, Alissa Stern, told the press that it is important everyone preserve and protect local languages while also championing the nationalal language. Stern said the organization would begin from Balinese and will expand over time to include Javanese, Sasak and other languages.
Currently there are around 500,000 users of BASAbali Wiki worldwide.