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Kamusi Kam

Archived Page

This is a page from the Kamusi archives. The information below may be out of date, and the links may no longer be valid. Please visit for current information. If you know of links or information on this page that can be updated, please let us know.

Watch the Kamusi Project Live!

The Kamusi Kam lets you watch as the Internet Living Swahili Dictionary is edited. The Kamusi Kam will be on if the editor is in the main office instead of using the laptop elsewhere or doing something else. If the Kamusi Kam is on, try sending in a dictionary edit, grouping an entry, or uploading a photograph, and you might see your submission processed and made live, right before your eyes.

The clock in the picture behind the editor's shoulder is the world's only Swahili clock! Learn more about Swahili time, and how you can get your own Swahili Time wall clock...

The Kamusi Kam is a fun way to put a little "Living" in the Internet Living Swahili Dictionary. If you spot the editor at work (you'll know because the picture will update every 10 seconds), please send a note to say hello!

What is involved in editing the Kamusi? Initially, we assembled our data quickly. We hired student labor to type in entries from a few published glossaries and from Charles Rechenbach's Swahili - English Dictionary, to which we were granted copyright permission. The resulting database had over sixty thousand entries, and quite a few mistakes. We developed and refined the Edit Engine, to the point where it is now capable of supporting a much more detailed and useful dictionary than we initially imagined. Now we are going through the data line-by-line, fixing mistakes, adding new information to existing entries, and adding new words as we encounter them.

Editing an entry is typically triggered when a project participant sends in a submission, or the editor comes across an entry that needs fixing, or we work with source material such as new terminology lists. If, for example, a contributor sends in an edit for an existing term, the editor will first compare the proposed changes to the existing entry. Then we compare the entry to the Rechenbach dictionary and other print dictionaries. We fix any additional errors that we find, either in the participant's submission, the online data, or any of the print sources. We add new lines if we need to include new meanings or verb forms, and we delete lines if we find duplications or mistakes. Often we will add English definitions, especially for more obscure or confusing English words. We will indicate the language and word from which a term is derived, if we have adequate information, and we will indicate other Swahili words that are related linguistically to the term we are editing. In many cases we will look for examples of contemporary Swahili usage from internet or printed sources, and include them along with the citation or hyperlink and an English translation. If the word belongs to a particular dialect or a special terminology, we will so indicate, and we will add taxonomic information for plant and animal species.

Also, we are now consolidating multiple spellings of the same word as one entry. First we attempt to determine the most common spelling, which we list as the primary entry. Then we type in the alternate spellings and plurals in the appropriate field. Finally, we delete any existing entries we have for those secondary spellings.

When the editor is satisfied with an entry's content, he will then use the Grouping Tool to arrange the entry's lines in a logical order. Because each alternate spelling and plural form needs to be arranged independently, the process of grouping and ranking can involve several cycles with the tool.

Long entries can sometimes take over an hour to edit, and the process can continue on if we have unresolved questions to post in the dictionary Discussion Forum. The editor is gradually refining every entry that originated from Rechenbach, as well as adding new terms when they become available. Once this thorough Swahili - English review is completed, we will begin a comprehensive review of the English - Swahili side of the Kamusi, beyond the English - Swahili submissions that contibutors are welcome to send at any time.

You are invited to contribute to this editing process! If you find a mistake, or an omission,or a nice usage example such as an apt proverb, please use the Edit Engine and send in what you know. Your submission will join the queue, and soon the editor will review what you've sent in, polish up the entry if it needs additional work, and click the magic button to incorporate your changes right into the online Kamusi. And, if you are watching the Kamusi Kam, you can see it happen here - live!

Of course, right now the project has a $40,000 deficit. The Kamusi Kam is meant to show you that we are continuing to keep working on the project as much as possible. Please do your part to help put life back in the Internet Living Swahili Dictionary. If you are able, we ask that you donate to our development fund. Please click here and follow the steps that we detail. We truly appreciate any support you can give.

Thanks to Cowboy Frank for his useful How To Set Up a Webcam page and helpful email hints!


Kamusi GOLD

These are the languages for which we have datasets that we are actively working toward putting online. Languages that are Active for you to search are marked with "A" in the list below.


•A = Active language, aligned and searchable
•c = Data 🔢 elicited through the Comparative African Word List
•d = Data from independent sources that Kamusi participants align playing 🐥📊 DUCKS
•e = Data from the 🎮 games you can play on 😂🌎🤖 EmojiWorldBot
•P = Pending language, data in queue for alignment
•w = Data from 🔠🕸 WordNet teams

Software and Systems

We are actively creating new software for you to make use of and contribute to the 🎓 knowledge we are bringing together. Learn about software that is ready for you to download or in development, and the unique data systems we are putting in place for advanced language learning and technology:

Articles and Information

Kamusi has many elements. With these articles, you can read the details that interest you:

Videos and Slideshows

Some of what you need to know about Kamusi can best be understood visually. Our 📽 videos are not professional, but we hope you find them useful:


Our partners - past, present, and future - include:

Hack Kamusi

Here are some of the work elements on our task list that you can help do or fund:

Theory of Kamusi

Select a link below to learn about the principles that guide the project's unique approach to lexicography and public service.

Contact Us

We welcome your comments and questions, and will try to respond quickly. To get in touch, please visit our contact page. You must use a real email address if you want to get a real reply!

© Copyright ©

The Kamusi Project dictionaries and the Kamusi Project databases are intellectual property protected by international copyright law, ©2007 through ©2018, under the joint ownership of Kamusi Project International and Kamusi Project USA. Further explanation may be found on our © Copyright page.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


Discussion items about language, technology, and society, from the Kamusi editor and others. This box is growing. To help develop or fund the project, please contact us!

Our biggest struggle is keeping Kamusi online and keeping it free. We cannot charge money for our services because that would block access to the very people we most want to benefit, the students and speakers of languages around the world that are almost always excluded from information technology. So, we ask, request, beseech, beg you, to please support our work by donating as generously as you can to help build and maintain this unique public resource.


Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to general questions you might have about Kamusi services.

We are building this page around real questions from members of the Kamusi community. Send us a question that you think will help other visitors to the site, and frequently we will place the answer here.

Try it : Ask a "FAQ"!

Press Coverage

Kamusi in the news: Reports by journalists and bloggers about our work in newspapers, television, radio, and online.

Sponsor Search:
Who Do You Know?

To keep Kamusi growing as a "free" knowledge resource for the world's languages, we need major contributions from philanthropists and organizations. Do you have any connections with a generous person, corporation, foundation, or family office that might wish to make a long term impact on educational outcomes and economic opportunity for speakers of excluded languages around the world? If you can help us reach out to a potential 💛😇 GOLD Angel, please contact us!