Language Preservation 2.0

Crowdsourcing Oral Language Documentation using Mobile Devices

Thousands of languages are falling out of use. Every time this happens we lose a unique perspective on the world, a unique story about how people have lived in a particular place, passed down by word of mouth over generations.

Language Preservation 2.0 involves research and development in social media, applied to the grand challenge of recording and translating the world’s languages. Aikuma, an Android app, helps remnant communities preserve their voices and stories for future generations. It is an inexpensive and scalable method for archiving hundreds of hours of spoken language.

The resulting database may one day serve as an audio “Rosetta Stone”, making it possible to decipher newly discovered recordings from long-forgotten languages. The data we collect will be housed in the Language Commons a multimedia collection that is part of the Internet Archive.

Aikuma won the Grand Prize in the Open Source Software World Challenge 2013 [news story].

More about Aikuma


This project is sponsored by the US National Science Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the Australian Research Council.