Jump to content

Grants:IEG/WikiProject Siriono

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
statusnot selected
WikiProject Siriono
summaryDiffuse Wiktionary in Bolivia through a direct contribution from Siriono speakers to national contributors.
targetSpanish Wiktionary, French Wiktionary, Commons
strategic priorityincreasing reach
themeoffline outreach and partnerships
amount9000 USD
contact• noe.gasparini(_AT_)gmail.com
this project needs...
created on04:21, 23 September 2015 (UTC)
round 2 2015

Diffuse Wiktionary in Bolivia through a direct contribution from Siriono speakers to national contributors.

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

There is no connection between linguists and Wiktionary, and Wiktionary is not considered as a possible way to save and diffuse a language.

What is your solution?[edit]

By training the Siriono speakers we plan to enhance a lexicon imported from a linguist's database into Wiktionary. Speakers of an endangered language is almost a new kind of contributors and will led us to develop a way to include them properly in the Wiktionaries. The result of this project will shed light on the possible uses of Wiktionary for language empowerment and conservation, for linguists and people working on language revitalization.

Project goals[edit]

Siriono is an endangered language spoken in Bolivia by less than fifty people. This language was the focus of a documentation project led by a linguist who now wants to put the dictionary he made into Wiktionary. After a coding step, a team will be gathered to travel to the Siriono community to train the speakers to add words, examples, sounds and pictures in the 1560+ entries in their language. Then, this innovative experience will be presented in different places in Bolivia and in linguistic conferences to show how useful Wiktionary can be for language revitalization, and to give a speaking-community the control on the online dictionary of their own language.

Project plan[edit]


The Wikiproject Siriono is divided into 5 steps.

Printscreen of FLEx software showing a part of the Siriono database.
  1. First step is to build a way to transfer the database made in FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx) to Wiktionary. The software, used by fieldwork linguists, is design to gloss (interlinear translation) texts and create a lexicon database. It can format the data in different ways and we need to develop a pattern to export to French Wiktionary (Wiktionnaire) and to Spanish Wiktionary (Wikcionario). A conversion to the English version of Wiktionary is also possible if someone interested in these steps appears in this community. The conversion of the formatting to make it fit with Wiktionary can be written in an addon for FLEx software that can allow to export from other projects made with FLEx in the future. A contact has been established with the FLEx developers to get their help in the development of such addon. As FLEx is widely used in the liguists community, it appears natural to develop a tool to export from FLEx to Wiktionary formats. A new Siriono Wiktionary (srq.wiktionary) will be created in Incubator, with blank entries, to be filled during the third step. This step will occupy the first months of the project, as the same time as the second steps.
  2. Second step is to gather a team to go to Bolivia to train the Siriono speakers. At this point, we design this team to include the linguist who made the database and knows very well the community and Wiktionnaire, one participant from Wikcionario and one other participant. This last one may be Pamputt, an admin of Wiktionnaire interested by the project. The participant from Wikcionario is not identified at this point. During this step, we will organize our project and be in touch with the Siriono community and three other related projects on-going there. Alma Foundation is leading a project to train school students to use the language, a religious organization is planing to work on a translation of the Bible in the language and the Institute for Siriono Language and Culture is training school teachers in the language. As we plan to include children, speakers and teachers, we need to be aware of these three projects. A contact was already made with the person in charge of each of those projects and it seems possible for us to use existing material they have for our project. During this step, we will also contact as many people as possible in Bolivia to schedule the fourth step.
  3. Third step is the first month in Bolivia. With the team gathered during the second step, we will train Siriono speakers in the Siriono villages of Ibiato and Ngirai (Beni Departement, Bolivia). We plan to train a dozen teenagers and young adults to read and contribute firstly to es.wiktionary (Wikcionario) and then to srq.wiktionary. A dozen of speakers will also be included with the teenager. Siriono people under 30 years old do not speak the language fluently and have to be helped by older relatives. This training's aim to guide the people to be in charge of the words already put into Wikcionario and srq.wiktionary and drive them to enhance theses pages. We plan to teach them how to collect new words and create new entries, add examples for existing ones, create thesaurus and check the existing ones, research and use pictures from Commons to illustrate the entries, record sounds to add to Commons and to the Wikcionario pages and write definition in the language itself. The team will live in a house built by the linguist and a local family will host during one month. Both schools, in Ibiato and Ngirai, have computers and the different on-going projects will provide us enough computers. In Ibiato there is ten computers and the teacher hired to teach computer will be part of this project. We will need to buy 4G usb sticks to give online access. During this month, we plan to check at least 75% of the entries and to create new contributors able to continue on after our project. Half or more entries will be recorded individually and add to Commons and to the Wikcionario pages.
  4. Fourth step is the second month in Bolivia. With the same team, we plan to present our results in different places all over the country. Firstly, in the nearest city of Trinidad where contacts have been made during the linguistic study and then in Cochabamba, La Paz, Sucre and Santa Cruz, at least. We will include the chapter Wikimedia Bolivia to schedule at least 5 places where we can organize meetings and workshops to train small groups of people that may know Wikipedia but not the Wikcionario. Another public participation will be to academics and organizations involved with indigenous languages in Bolivia, such as the IPELC (Plurinational Institute for Studying Lenguages and Culture [Instituto Plurinacional de Estudios en Lenguas y Culturas]). We plan to schedule at least 3 meeting of this kind in Bolivia.
  5. Fifth step is the conclusion. After we finish up our project in Bolivia, we plan to write a guide to explain our procedure and experience for the Wiktionary community and to anyone interested in following the same process. We plan to present the results in academic conferences about endangered languages and archiving and to publish articles about it in peer-review journals. At least two conferences is our plan for 2016. Our wish then is to guide other linguists who may want to do the same, and one colleague already expressed her will to do so for another language in Bolivia. Another never-ending task will be to keep an eye on the entries of this language in the different projects and help anyone who may want to change them. If srq.wiktionary is developed finely, we plan to make it as an official Wiktionary project.


This project is designed for three participants.

  • Travel roundtrip to Bolivia: 5000 USD (three flight tickets from France)
  • Travel within Bolivia (fourth step): 1400 USD
  • Two months hosting in Bolivia: 2000 USD
  • Material (modems, cables, chairs, fan, paper): 500 USD
  • Expenditures (printing, medicine, water): 100 USD
  • Technical material (recorder, computers): provided by the main participant' research center DDL based in Lyon.
  • Conferences fees: provided by the main participant' research center based in Lyon, or offered by the conference.

Total amount: 9000 USD

Three participants

This project needs at least 3 participants in order to supervise the Sirionos who will participate to the training. It is expected to train about 12 teenagers and 12 older relatives that speak the language, so 24 participants. From previous training experiment, we know that teaching how to contribute to Wiktionary is not trivial, and we assume that it will be worst with people not so comfortable with computers. We calibrate a need for 1 supervisor for 5 trainees. Our plan is to train the same peoples during a month, so we will need to develop a methodology to increase the complexity of contribution slowly, starting from a small editing, evolving to the recording of sounds for Commons and reaching the creation of news pages as a goal. We include creation of categories and thesaurus (also named Wikisaurus in the English Wiktionary) to organize the words by semantics, and it is a complete different task.The competence of the 3 trainers will be:

  • Noé knows very well the Sirionos community and the local infrastructure. He have a linguistic training and good skills in Wiktionary edition.
  • Pamputt will support the training to increase the number of trained people. He is collaborating in Wiktionary since years. He already attended several training on Wikipedia and for some of them on Wiktionary. His computing knowledge could help to develop some bots in a reactive way during the project.
  • A third person is needed to provide another expertise and complete the team. That would be ideally a pedagogue in order to organize the training and develop class activities to teach properly. A student doing a Master on education or fieldwork linguistic can be a great help, and this experience may be then a subject for an academic dissertation. Its help will also increase the number of potential future contributors. We plan to diffuse a notification to find someone as soon as the IEG grant result is known. If it appears that we can not find a right person, we will reduce our team to two people and train less Siriono people. A local teacher is also interested to provide her skills during the training but she has to be train to Wiktionary and Commons first. She will participate as a language intermediate with a local known authority on the teenagers. We plan to drive her to be a local referent for the Siriono people during and after the project ends. The material bought during the project will be offered to the school under her supervision. If there is some extra money at the end of the training, we may offer her to join our team for the public diffusion of the results in Bolivia, as a local expert.At this point, there is no stipend included for the participant of this project.

Community engagement[edit]

A picture taken during a workshop for the revision of the dictionary, September 2015. The speaker is the main grantee.

For the first step, the Wiktionary community will be engaged in the process of creating an export-import process from FLEx to Wiktionary. Then, various participants may check the articles, but mostly participants of this project. A new srq.wiktionary will be create in Incubator to export the database with no definition. It will be tested during the third step to see if it can be viable.

During the second and fourth steps, participant of Wikimedia Bolivia will be solicited to organize workshops and meeting in different places in Bolivia.

During the third step of training, the Wikcionario community and Commons community will be solicited to help us to guide the new participants and about any technical issues we may encounter.


Bolivian contributors may continue editing after the end of the project, but this is not granted. Continuation of the project will mainly be the diffusion of the results of this experience in different places, to show how useful Wiktionaries can be for endangered languages and how easy it can be for linguists to engage a community of speakers in a collective creation for their own language.

Measures of success[edit]

Before the trip (four first months):

  • Creation of 1500+ entries in Wikcionario and Wiktionnaire in Siriono, an endangered language by a massive import process.

During the trip in Bolivia:

  • Enhancement of the 1500+ entries created in Wikcionario.
  • 800+ audio recordings added in Commons and included in the Wiktionaries at the end of the trip in Bolivia;
  • 100+ pictures of the training sessions and public places of Bolivia in Commons;
  • 24 trainees, 12 teenagers and 12 older relatives that speak the language fluently;
  • Approximately 40 hours of training: one month, 4 days a week (because of days off), 2 to 4 hours a day;

After the trip:

  • We estimate that at least 5 Siriono contributors will continue to contribute after the training session. They will edit at least 10 times in the 6 months following our visit.
  • Development of an add-on to send data from FLEx to Wiktionary, to help linguists to follow the same path in the future. This may need some adjustment but we plan to have a first draft of this at the end of the six months project
  • At least 3 presentations of our results in Bolivia (step 4), in universities or to the national organization for indigenous languages (IPELC).
  • At least 2 conferences about Wiktionary to defend the possible uses for linguists and speakers of endangered languages. Conferences will be given in 2016 and 2017. In particular, a contribution will be send to the Symposium on Endangered Languages and Cultural Revitalization, an international conference in October 2015. In addition, a talk will be given in the laboratory of linguistics of Lyon, France, during a summer school on endangered languages (2016 or 2017) or internally to the lab. Another talk may be given in the SOAS University in London, as they manage a grant program for endangered language documentation, and funded Noé's previous project on Siriono.
  • At least one linguist will be convinced to perform similar experiment with another endangered language.

Get involved[edit]


Cover of the published Siriono dictionary.
  • Noé (Noé Gasparini): I have been studying the Siriono language since 2011 for a PhD in linguistics in Lyon, France. I am in charge of a documentation project about this endangered language spoken in Bolivia by less than fifty speakers. I did five fieldtrips in Ibiato, Bolivia, spending more than a year living in the village. I collected 26+ hours of stories and tales in the language, by 20 speakers. I produced a banner with local fruits, three booklets about mammals, fishes and birds and a Siriono-Spanish-English dictionary with 1560 entries. All this material was checked by the community and is print and offer for free to the speakers (100 of each booklet, 200 dictionaries). Material and videos will be archive by London University SOAS in ELAR archive fund by Arcadia Foundation through the ELDP program. With the agreement of the person in charge, all these documents are published in CC BY-SA in Commons. I am also active in French Wiktionary since 2006, where I wrote policy and help pages for protolanguages, etymology, neutrality and pronunciation. I initiated WikiFromage, a project to describe cheeses in the French Wiktionary, and I contribute to the French Wiktionary Monthly News page. I also helped Lyokoï to create slides to present the Wiktionary project in different occasions. We also started a monthly meeting in our city, Lyon (France) but I wasn't present for the first two, because of my fieldtrip to Bolivia.
  • Pamputt: very motivated by this project. I am not a linguist but I am interested by languages in general. After watching some videos of linguists conferences, I am aware about the need to protect endangered languages, such as Siriono language. From Wikimedia point of view, I contributes to the French Wiktionary since almost 9 years. I also participating to Wikipedia, Commons and Wikidata. It gives me a good knowledge of the Wikimedia environment. In addition, I already participated to several workshops where new contributors learned how to contribute and I would enjoy to teach to new people who looks really interested.
  • Lizett Cuellar Pereira : Computer teacher in Ibiato, she will be part of the project and led the students to develop their skills before and after the project.

Community Notification[edit]

Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?

The project was presented in public meeting and commented in Siriono homes, 9th to 11th of October. A Support Paper has been read and sign by 85 Sirionos, including every authorities and head of main families. Teachers were not included in this card because it aims mainly speakers and people living full time in the village.


Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the talk page of this proposal).

  • Community member: add your name and rationale here.
  • Pour créer un précédent en publiant officiellement le travail d'un linguiste sur le Wiktionnaire. JackPotte (talk) 06:43, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Pour soutenir tout projet permettant d'accroître la visibilité de langues menacées d'extinction dont la survie ne peut passer actuellement, au minimum, que par une représentation sur le net la plus large et pertinente possible. Unsui (talk) 18:39, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Help endanged langages is an important good reason of the existence of wiktionaries. This first is an excellent first step to continue this way. Lyokoï88 (talk) 20:15, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
  • This looks like a very exciting project. I hope it is successful and to see more projects for endangered languages in future. —Pengo (talk) 02:56, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Great project. To me the wiktionary is a very useful tool for this small language community. Trace (talk) 18:32, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I feel generally concerned in preserving the diversity of species in any kind as each of them contains a sparkle of spirit coordinated with the location. So is the communication mean between individuals in their own way of life. Complete sustainment thenSupreme assis (talk) 07:56, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Because it's obvious that endangered languages are one of the reasons for being of Wiktionnaries projects and the foundation must support any projects which plan to collect their lexicons. Because even if we can't save them at least they won't fade out quietly with no vestige. V!v£ l@ Rosière /Murmurer…/ 10:41, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  • This project can be a showcase of how linking Wikimedia projects and the academic world (here in the field of linguistics) can be beneficial to the protection of endangered languages (and therefore cultures). With enough communication (directed to universities), this could have a big impact on how researchers see the Wikimedia projects (especially the “smaller” ones, like Wiktionary ou Wikisource) and lead more of them to contribute or develop partnerships. Eiku (talk) 21:46, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Saving endangered languages is an important effort that happens to dovetail very nicely with our goal of documenting all of human language in Wiktionary. This would be the first effort of such scale that I am aware of, and I think it would be excellent way to progress on this issue. Metaknowledge (talk) 02:43, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Apart from the fact that endangered languages are underrepresented in the Wiktionary projects, this project could answer to an other critical need: bring contributors from other horizons. — Automatik (talk) 00:14, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Although my knowledge on this subject is limited, as far as I can see is that this is a worthwhile project. It is an extension of an already existing project and has therefore a great chance of succeeding. Therefore I endorse this project. Wereldburger758 (talk) 10:07, 29 February 2016 (UTC)