Our motto is our goal, "Every Word in Every Language". Completely fulfilling this mission is impossible, but it sets the target toward which we aim. We aspire to merge all that is known and all that is knowable about language, in one data system that is free to everyone. More than 7000 different languages are spoken around the world. Some languages have hundreds of millions of speakers and many dialects. Hundreds of endangered languages, meanwhile, might disappear in a generation. Fully documenting every expression from every language variation would require thousands of researchers and decades of work. At Kamusi, we concentrate on ways to collect as much data for as many languages as possible, arrange that data precisely, and put the information at the service of students, the public, and the technology we use to communicate. We have games and other tools for people worldwide to systematically share what they know about their language, and we have a global partner network for experts to contribute their knowledge. We also integrate existing datasets whenever possible, though most languages do not have any meaningful available digital resources. The Kamusi architecture supports, in principle, a complete matrix of human expression across time and space. This is a mission to Mars, an ambition to be attempted by pulling together people and resources in a concerted international collaboration. It is a hard, hard road ahead. We seek every word in every language, but we cannot even really say what is a word or what is a language, much less how we can pay for it all. However, we have the core systems in place, or ready to release when we can afford to manage the data influx, and additional components that are fully specified and just need funds to implement. Please join us in turning our Quixotic quest into a reality that creates and unites as much information as possible for the world's languages! We greatly appreciate your financial contributions, and eagerly anticipate your participation as we roll out our language games to reach for the stars, one word at a time, toward every word in every language.
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Kamusi is managed by Dr. Martin Benjamin, Executive Director.
"Kamusi (Swahili for "dictionary") began in 1994 because I needed a good Swahili dictionary to do anthropology research in Tanzania. I couldn't write one by myself, so developed one of the first crowdsourcing projects for people to contribute online. When other African language communities asked to be included, we saw that maintaining accuracy among many languages was impossible the way most lexical data is organized - so we built a new model for connecting concepts at a molecular level. It's exciting to work with great people around the world on systems that go well beyond what current designs of programs like Google Translate could ever handle, especially the opportunity to work with languages and people who are usually excluded from global knowledge networks. Now that the model has been proven, the big challenge is finding the resources to collect detailed data for hundreds of languages, and share it all with you."