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Silabario Amazónico: Building a Written System for Indigenous Languages

The 2016 Silabario Amazónico initiative is a proposal for a writing system for indigenous South American languages. Because it is an alpha-syllabary, or abugida, researcher Juan Casco used OpenType technology and developed a font for the writing system. This initiative allowed Casco to work with linguistics, anthropology, and programming professionals to create tools and methodologies for the dissemination and preservation of languages–akin to the “digital keyboards for indigenous languages” project currently in development for the Kichwa of Ecuador. Casco has also created a historical compendium of the antecedents of pre-Columbian writing systems and experimented with modular typography to pass these sign elements from the historical record to the digital.

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Speaker

Juan Casco

A visual artist, graphic designer, and typographer from Puyo, Ecuador, Juan Casco is a researcher of the history and writing systems of the entire world, especially those of pre-Columbian cultures. In 2016, Casco created the Silabario Amazónico, a proposal for a writing system for indigenous languages. This project allowed him to work with linguistics, anthropology, and programming professionals who, with their experience in digital typography, create tools and methodologies for the dissemination and preservation of languages. Casco is currently studying Visual Arts at the Universidad de las Artes.