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EPISODE 3  — Digitally-Documenting the Sundanese Language and Cultural Heritage

“A language is the identity of a nation.”

— Ilham Nurwansah

Ilham Nurwansah is now on a mission to digitize old text and share encyclopedic information through Wikipedia in his language Sundanese, one of Indonesia’s 800 languages. 
The colonization era was complicated for Indonesia, a country with 700 languages, as it is hard to tell if it was helpful or not for the Sundanese language. But Ilham Nurwansah is now on a mission to digitize old text, and share encyclopedic information through Wikipedia. What is known very little about Nurwansah is that he also makes his own musical instrument (see a short documentary of him playing the Sundanese instrument Karinding).
UNESCO estimated that half of the world’s 7,000 languages are in danger. According to the “2020 Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages Report” by Whose Knowledge?, only a mere 7% of the world’s languages are captured in published resources. When it comes to digital content, a much less fraction of these languages is represented.
As the world’s largest island country, In this episode Subhashish Panigrahi, producer of O Foundation Conversations is talking to Ilham Nurwansah who is researching the Sundanese language of Indonesia. Nurwansah is digitizing ancient manuscripts and contributing to the Sundanese-language Wikipedia.


Subhashish Panigrahi


Ilham Nurwansah


edtijo. Happy Guitar. https://freesound.org/s/207558/ (CC0 1.0); tim.kahn. guitar loop.aif. https://freesound.org/s/50072/ (CC-BY 3.0); ShortRecord. happy piano.mp3. https://freesound.org/s/525080/ (CC-BY 3.0); gutiyvon. YVONNE GuitarArpeggiation.wav. https://freesound.org/s/465583/ (CC0 1.0); quetzalcontla. Warm guitar rhythm Intro. https://freesound.org/s/458425/ (CC-BY 3.0)


1. Moseley, Christopher (ed.). 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 3rd edn. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Online version: http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/endangeredlanguages/atlas/
2. WhoseKnowledge?. 2020. “Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages – Summary Report”. URL: https://whoseknowledge.org/resource/dtil-report/ (Accessed June 24, 2020)