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SIL’s service is founded on the principle that communities should be able to pursue their social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual goals without sacrificing their ethnolinguistic identity. Language development cannot be separated from integrated development that affects all areas of a community's life. SIL serves language communities through advocacy, resource-linking, and capacity development.
As speakers seek to use their language in written materials, alphabet development may be needed. SIL staff have the technical knowledge to identify the sounds of the language that will need to be represented and make recommendations for a writing system. SIL linguists base their recommendations on an understanding of psycholinguistics and best practices in literacy theory so that the developing writing system will cause the least amount of difficulty for speakers seeking to achieve reading fluency.