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Vocabulary Wiki

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A "WikiVocab" project

Stevey7788 September 16, 2010 User blog:Stevey7788

Imagine a website where you view standardized word lists for every language on the planet. For free.

I'd like to start a "WikiVocab" project' if possible. Right now, Wiktionary currently has lists for around 200 languages, many of them in language-family rather than individual lists — see http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Swadesh_lists. I have personally created and finished around 20 different Swadesh lists, with more coming on their way.

My dream is for there to be a 'big database' on the Internet where anyone can access the basic vocabulary words (in standardized topical lists) of all the world's languages. Wikipedia has information on the grammar and demographics of languages, but does not often include vocabulary, which is the core and essence of language. The closest things we have to a massive comparative database on world languages are the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database, Intercontinental Dictionary Series, and of course, Wiktionary's Swadesh lists. As a side note, even though this is basically the Rosetta Project's goal, the website is still quite unwieldy for ordinary users, has a very low Alexa site ranking, and does not allow wiki-style contributions. The Rosetta Project has also pulled off Swadesh lists that used to be on there, and does not have any searchable vocabulary databases as of now. And why do this? To help in language preservation, comparative linguistic studies, language learning, and more.

These days, when you search online for words in various indigenous languages, you find nothing. When you want to buy a book, it's out-of-print or overpriced. When you want to learn it, you just can't find it. Wikipedia already has the grammar and demographics, but not the lexicon. This is a major factor in driving languages to extinction. Let's solve this problem and do something about it.

This "WikiVocab" website will be similar in style to WikiSpecies. If we do create a big, unified, and searchable database for all the world's languages — all in one place — I believe it will be one of the greatest human achievements in modern times. Linguists, teachers, and native speakers from all over the world would be able to add words in different languages, helping to save languages from total oblivion. This will be one of the greatest gems that our future generations can ever inherit.

Thanks for your considerations! — Stevey7788 11:34, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

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