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Wikitongues: Document Your Language

Categories: Case Studies, Digital Media, Feature, Interview, Introduction, Languages
Screenshot from wikitongues.org (11-03-14)

Screenshot from wikitongues.org (11-03-14)

Wikitongues [1] is a new project hoping document the world's 7,000 languages.

The project asks individuals to contribute videos of themselves speaking in their own language – be it German, Urdu, Swahili, or any other, and is mostly organised through its Youtube account [2]

Currently, Wikitongues is building a platform where anyone can upload videos on their own, making this a crowdsourced project – as well as incorporating as a non-profit. They hope by the end of the year to bring their current 50 videos to 100. Those helping to create a database for easily accessible information are volunteers called “ambassadors” based in Switzerland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Norway, Russia and Spain.

In documenting many different people speaking the same language from different regions, they hope, says co-founder Daniel Bogre Udell, to demonstrate a cultural application of language. 

Here is an example in English, with a speaker from from North Carolina, USA and another from South Africa:

There is also a section for polyglots, people who speak more than one language:

The videos include what are commonly called “minority” languages, such as K'iche [3] (Quiché), a subgroup of the Maya language, originating in Guatemala. However, the group is careful not to refer to languages as either majority or minority on the website, giving equal weight to different tongues regardless of the total number of global speakers.

Wikitongues also chooses a “Language of the week” to discuss on their Tumblr blog, including links and information about each language. Recently, the focus was on Basque.

You can follow the project on Instagram [4] and Twitter [5] – and connect to share your own videos.