SIL Nepal


What does the acronym "SIL" stand for?

The acronym “SIL” originally stood for Summer Institute of Linguistics. However, the organization is now known as SIL International.

Where does SIL work?

SIL has grown from a small summer linguistics training program with two students to a staff of over 4,800, from 84 countries. Currently SIL works alongside speakers of more than 1,700 languages in over 100 countries. The organization makes its services available to all, without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race or ethnolinguistic background.

Where does SIL work in Nepal?

  • Sankhuwasabha (Eastern Tamang MTB-MLE)
  • Chitwan (Darai Adult Literacy)
  • Dhading (Western Tamang MTB-MLE ) 

How is SIL financed?

SIL International is a non-profit NGO registered in the United States. Its financing comes from individuals and organizations interested in assisting language communities. Many of SIL’s community-based projects are funded or partially funded by individual or organizational contributors. Larger projects are often sponsored by organizations committed to both international development and the linguistic and cultural viability of the world’s language communities.

Does SIL believe in the value of Nepali?

Yes, SIL believes that every language is valuable. One of SIL's goals in Nepal is to assist non-dominant language speakers in gaining literacy skills in their mother tongue in order to help them with learning to read and write in Nepali. 

Does SIL get involved in Nepali language related issues?

No, SIL does not get involved in Nepali language related issues. SIL works with speakers of lesser known languages to help them achieve their goals as a community through language planning and intercultural development efforts. In many cases this means the development and promotion of written forms of their language and the production of literature. 

How does SIL define a language versus a dialect?

The definition of a language and a dialect is not always clear. The two terms have been used in many different ways. Common usage often applies the term language to the large, prestigious languages which have an established written literature. The term dialect is then used for all other speech varieties. Some linguists use language to refer to speech varieties that share similar vocabularies, phonological and/or grammatical systems. 

An important factor in determining the distinction between a language and a dialect is how well speech communities can understand one another. Low intelligibility between two speech varieties, even if one has been classified as a dialect of the other, impedes the ability of one group to understand the other. 

Does SIL co-operate with the Government of Nepal's priorities and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? 

SIL is committed to linking to Nepal Government policy and addressing the same problems which the government prioritizes. SIL objectives intersect and contribute to government policy in the following ways: 

  • To promote equal access to education, especially in the rural areas; In providing mother-tongue literacy and education which also strengthens student’s ability in Nepali, those in rural areas have increased access to education.
  • To promote good governance through capacity building for public institutions and civil society; In providing training for teachers in public institutions and building the capacity of implementing partners, civil society is strengthened and equipped to address their own development needs, particularly through language planning and education.
  • To facilitate economic empowerment especially for women and marginalized groups. As women and marginalized groups in particular are targeted by SIL International, these sectors are strengthened and have the ability to pursue economic empowerment in ways that would otherwise not be possible for them.
  • Delivering quality public services in a transparent manner and promoting good governance by protecting and promoting human rights. Language is central to identity, so giving access to education in a way to recognizes the basic human right of free speech, while at the same time recognizing the importance of education in Nepali, the overall public education is strengthened.  
  • Cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, inclusive society and capacity development of different institutions. In providing mother-tongue education for language communities that struggle to otherwise be meaningfully included, SIL strengthens gender equality and includes marginalized societies. Furthermore, local institutions are given greater capacity to continue providing local communities with their own sustainable development.