Local Linguist is an app for collecting data on local languages. The idea was inspired by the problems encountered with linguistics research in East Timor. For the majority of children in the country, the language used in the classroom is not the language that they speak at home, and for many, not a language they have spoken before starting school.
The Local Linguist app and website is designed to allow researchers to upload picture, audio and written data sets to a website. These sets can then be used by researchers who have the local linguist app on their phone. The app allows researchers to go into the field, show informants a picture, or written question, or hear an audio clip, and then get the informant to respond using a multiple choice answer, written answer, or recorded audio answer. The app then prompts field researchers to upload the data to the website. This app has the potential to revolutionise linguistic (and other) research in places such as Timor-Leste.
The prototype app was developed at the RHoK Melbourne Winter 2015 Hackathon. Further development occurred over a number of RHoLLs, and again at the RHoK Melbourne Summer 2015 Hackathon. The team is currently worked on the website database (using ruby on rails), updating the app (the app is written in java), and linking the app to the database.