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Wikilingua is essentially a medium through which the endangered and dead languages of the world can be preserved not only for posterity, but also for the present.

Wikipedia states that while there are six or seven thousand languages on the planet right now, within 50 to 100 years, about half of them will have become extinct. The idea behind wikilingua is that by doing two things, one could preserve and perhaps even grow the languages that will otherwise die. The first is to gather linguistic, and audio data from both wikipedia's sources, as well as from new sources that contribute (ex-pats in remote places, scholars who did field work 10 years ago, etc), and the second, to take this data and develop a tutorial (wikiBook fashion or otherwise) to gradually add to the growing pool of knowledge. The linguistic data is nice, but without a clear and simple way to distribute this info to all of the people on the web, it will fall on deaf ears. A linguistic chart of all 19 affixes to a Dena'ina verb will be good data, but it will not help the growth of the language as it is difficult to look at and hard to really read. This new system will be a quasi synthesis of wikipedia, wikibooks, and wikitravel that will show you how the language works, where the language works, where it's from, as well as how to speak it. Dialectical differences and otherwise can be noted and saved.

The idea came up when I read on wikipedia [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_endangered_languages[en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_endangered_languages]] about how many languages are going to die out. Upon further reflection I began to wonder how much culture and information was going to die with them. I figure that the only way to process the sheer volume of information that is necessary to do this would be a wiki, thus wikiLingua was born.


As perspectives I would see the chance for children to communicate in a Wikipedia-version and produce stuff of their own interests. Another chance is the participation of teachers, school classes and projects working with children in this project. There are lots of ways to characterize this project as a project concerning the child's education and participation in the progress of constructing something great. Beside of this there are chances to get fundings for those perspectives from different sides (including politics) to enable this sort of project and to support it.

Getting Every Thing Together[edit]

The most difficult and challenging part of this entire of project will synthesizing and adding in the data we already have and the data we will need. Wikimedia already has HUGE amounts of data about many languages. But setting a standard format to preserve and teach will be difficult. The idea I came up with would be a wikiBook sort of format, but using the front page as a sort of introduction to the language similar to that found in wikipidea. Also, we need to somewhere in there incorporate something similar to the phrasebook of wikiTravel (which can be very useful for spur of the moment interpreting).

Problems & Answers[edit]

There will be some difficult problems with coordination and (as forementioned) consolidation of the data.

  • Problem: It will be tough to gather information about remote and isolated places. For example, how are we going to get information on Burushashki, a language not even listed in wikipedia?
  • Answer: Someone will have to look up linguists and other people who have done field work in that region, and get in contact with them. The only way we will be able to get information is to be pro-active.
  • Problem: Complaints: "My mother tongue hasn't gotten enough coverage! I want more information in, this is biased!"
  • Answer: Well have to fall back to the old NPOV, and make certain that when we post information about a language, we post it as accurately and as much of it as we can.
  • Problem: How do we get info on dead languages?
  • Answer: For languages that are already gone, research will have to be done. Luckily for our sake, many of the languages that have recently died out have been recorded, or at least sampled by the academic world. An example being one of the dialects of Athabascan from around the Tanacross region. Tapes of many, many, many stories have been preserved in libraries and the like, so sometimes we might get lucky.


I have created here a title page for a fictional language as an example of the type of content:

{{language|name=Chixat|nativename=Cixat |familycolor=lawngreen |states=[[Chixatistan]] |region=[[Antarctica]] |speakers=Primary language: about 6 people<br>As Second language: about 2 |rank=57855 (native) |family=[[Chixati|Chixats]]<br/>  [[Chigi|Chics]]<br/>   [[Cix Type Languages|Cix Type Languages]]<br/>    [[South Cix|South Cix]]<br/>     '''Chixat''' <div style="float: right;">{{IPA notice}}</div>}}

Chixat, [cixat] is the most widely spoken language of Antarctica and the most widespread of the Chixati Languages.

More linguistical information about the language... pronunciation, grammar structure etc.

  • Lesson One: Pronunciation
  • Lesson Two: Simple Phrases
  • Lesson Three: Etc.
  • etc...
  • Appendix
  • Chixat Phrase Book


This is totally an international project. Everything of it will be a colaboration between all the contributing international members. The essence of wiki.

See also[edit]