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Developing an Arabic Symbol Dictionary for AAC users: Bridging the Cultural, Social and Linguistic Gap.

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This paper aims to explore the challenges that a group of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) users, practitioners, researchers, technologists and graphic designers encountered when developing an Arabic Symbol dictionary. The remit was for a culturally, socially and linguistically suitable set of symbols to serve those with speech, language and literacy difficulties as well as for use in language learning, signage and general information provision. Strategies discussed will include ways to support a spoken language that often differs from its written form along with cultural and social nuances that may include important religious practices as much as the educational and daily living needs of users. The importance of taking a participatory approach and making use of social media with a voting system to select accurate representations of symbols will be explained as a way to ensure symbols were fit for purpose along with online discussions and an innovative symbol management system.

Author(s):

EA Draffan    
University of Southampton
United Kingdom

Mike Wald    
University of Southampton
United Kingdom

Nawar Halabi    
University of Southampton
United Kingdom

Ouadie Sabia    
Language 4 Life Academy Ltd
United Kingdom

Amatullah Kadous    
Hamad Medical Corporation,
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Amal Idris    
Hamad Medical Corporation,
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Nadine Zeinoun    
Mada Assistive Technology Center
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David Banes    
Mada Assistive Technology Center
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Dana Lawand    
Mada Assistive Technology Center
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