Education/News/October 2023/Wikipedian Editor Project: Arabic Sounds Workshop 2023

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Wikipedian Editor Project: Arabic Sounds Workshop 2023

Summary: As a collaboration between Wikipedian Editor Project and the acoustics workshop in Arabic Wikipedia, We managed to record the vocal pronunciations of 400 words found in the List of English words of Arabic origin and Arabic language influence on the Spanish language.
Screenshot of the attendees of the last live session on Zoom held on 28th August.
Social Media channels or hashtags: Wikipedian Editor Project Facebook Page


Arabic is a Semitic language, unlike English, it is written from left to right. It has 28 letters that change their forms depending on their position in the word: beginning, middle, or end. This creates a total of 100 symbols to remember, making learning Arabic pronunciation a tough challenge for non-Arabic speakers.

Arabic is one of the most spoken languages worldwide. It has been in use for centuries. Historically, during the Islamic golden age, Arabic was the Lingua franca in the entire old world. Thus, no wonder it has a huge influence on other languages. Without a doubt, you have used words like algebra or alcohol in high school, these can show how much Arabic has influenced other living languages we use today.


Our main goal in this workshop was to record 400 words found in the List of English words of Arabic origin and Arabic language influence on the Spanish language. to help non-Arabic speakers listening to the original words in Arabic.


Phase I: Preparation

We worked on this phase in the end of July, preparing the workshop page in Arabic Wikipedia, calling for participants on the facebook page of Wikipedian Editor Project.

Phase II: Live online sessions

It was intended to host 3 online live sessions on zoom; Session 1 was oriented to explain the nature of the workshop, to introduce the projects we will work on, and to show how to use Audacity to record voice. It was on the 9th August. The 2nd session focused on Commons, how to upload files to it, and how to use these files in Wikipedia projects. Then came Session 3, which introduced Wikidata and explained how to add the records to Wikidata. Then we find that we need a further session about the lexemes’ of Wikidata, as several records had no Q-items to be attached to, and they needed to be treated as lexicographical data (session4). It was on 28th August. All sessions were recorded, and uploaded with educational materials to Commons, so they become available to everyone in the community.

Phase III: Practise!

Synchronously to Phase II, Phase III was taking place. Participants were practising what they had been learning on live sessions using the lists we had prepared on the workshop page on Arabic wikipedia. The 400 words were recorded, uploaded to Commons, and used in Wikipedia and Wikidata. We used IPA and Pronunciation templates to add the pronunciation of the words in vocal and written forms using the International Phonetic Alphabet

Phase IV: Quality assurance

All contributions were carefully revised to correct any errors. Some of the records needed re-recording. All participants welcomed the revision phase and were helpful to edit their contributions to be the best ones. Phase IV ended in October after we revised all the 400 words with all steps explained in the zoom sessions.


  • 16 participants joined the workshop from 5 different Arab countries: Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Egypt but currently based in more than 5 ones.
  • Participants learnt how to:
  • Use 3 different wikimedia projects; Wikipedia, Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons.
  • Search for Arabic words in dictionaries and how to make sure of their pronunciations.
  • Use Audacity app to record, edit and export records.
  • Upload records on commons, add categories and templates.
  • Edit on Wikidata and how to create leximes.
  • Edit on wikipedia and how to use templates; {{IPA}} and {{Pronunciation}}.
  • Get the International Phonetic Alphabet.


During the time of the workshop many of participants had challenges to overcome: Some of them suffered from poor internet connection due to war circumstances, others are based in countries where zoom is forbidden so they had to watch the recorded sessions not the live ones, and Libyan participants suffered from natural disasters as Storm Daniel occurred in Libya in September during our workshop.

All these challenges did not stop the participants from achieving the goal of the workshop because all of them love the Arabic language, know its impact on culture and its influence on other languages.


“شكرا للأساتذة الذين أتاحوا لي فرصة التعرف على ويكيبيديين نشيطين وأصوات مميزة، استمتعت بسماع الملفات المرفوعة" رأي أحد المشاركين بالورشة "Thanks to the professors who gave me the opportunity to know active Wikipedians and distinctive voices. I enjoyed listening to the uploaded files.” feedback from one of the workshop participants.

"لابد أن تكون سعيدًا، إنجازك كبير وإضافة للموسوعة فأنت تتمتع بخامة صوت ممتازة" قال ذلك أحد المشاركين لمشارك آخر لتشجيعه. “You must be happy. Your achievement is great, and an addition to the encyclopaedia. You have excellent sound quality.” One participant told another one to encourage him.

"تأخرت في التسجيل للأسف نتيجة بعض الضغوطات، أدركت فقط البارحة ما كان يفوتني من العظمة، سجلت بضع كلمات وراجعت أخريات حتى أنني سمعت بعض الكلمات عدة مرات لجمالها" “Unfortunately, I was late in recording due to some stressful conditions I had. I only realised yesterday what greatness I was missing. I recorded few words and reviewed others. I even heard some of the recorded words several times as they are very beautiful.”

This is the second year in a row of the collaboration between the Wikipedian editor project and the acoustics workshop in Arabic Wikipedia. Last year the workshop aimed to record Arabic poems.

Although the focus is on the Arabic content, the influence is language-free! This year, Our contribution is universal! The recordings can be used in any Wikimedia project and are not limited to Arabic Wikipedia.