Palau, August 16, 2023 – John Bent, the creator of tekinged.com, a website that aims to preserve the Palauan language through technology, joined the Language Panel at OneReef’s 2nd Youth Forum. Although based in the USA, Bent happened to be on vacation in Palau to participate in the panel discussion.
Bent is a research scientist at Los Alamos National Labs, with a multi-decade career focused on researching, designing, and developing data storage systems. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Amherst College and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In fluent Palauan, Bent shared insights on the inception and evolution of tekinged.com, which he created after he kept losing index cards of Palauan words that he wanted to learn. He described how he created a MySQL Database and imported a thousand words from an online dictionary hosted by Jim “Ngirchoureng” Geselbracht.
Bent also detailed the technical aspects of the website, including its “dekaingeseu” feature, which involves crowd-sourcing contributions from the public to enhance the database. He emphasized that tekinged.com is a community-driven project and that he is open to collaborating with young Palauan IT professionals. Bent also took the time to thank all the contributors and volunteers who have supported this effort over the years.
Bent’s passion for the Palauan language and culture is undeniable. He shared with the participants that his favorite Palauan word is “melengmes,” and emphasized, “tekinged a tekinged, ng klokled.” His contributions to the forum underscore the interconnectedness between technological innovation, cultural preservation, and safeguarding our island ecosystem.