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A Dictionary for Exotic Languages?

When the science journalist for the Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten set out to ✍ write about Kamusi, her efforts were reduced to a tiny paragraph because the project deals with "exotic" languages, but not yet German. She was not even given the print space to point out that Kamusi is of significant benefit for European languages because it translates among all the languages in the system, not just to English. The notion that 👅👅👅 multilingual lexicography is akin to collecting esoteric butterflies has proven to be quite an obstacle to receiving support from foundations and government agencies in Europe and the USA. For one thing, Kamusi is actually working on many languages that are central to 🌎 global commerce and 🎓 knowledge systems, building tools that have never existed even for the most favored languages, English and the FIGS. For another, to the billions of 👪 people who speak most of the languages we strive to include, there is nothing "exotic" about their efforts to learn and prosper in their own 👅 linguistic ecosystems.

Unfortunately, American agencies see education in English as the main path worth supporting, even though that means perpetual marginalization for the vast majority of 👪 people who will never learn English in their lifetimes. European agencies, meanwhile, are ideologically fixated on benefitting European business interests - which does not include 🆓 free 🎓 knowledge resources for European students, much less for people in "exotic" locations.

A Dictionary for Exotic Languages Languages like Swahili, Kirundi or Mampruli seem exotic to us - yet in Africa they are spoken by millions of 👪 people. However, no online dictionaries for such languages existed so far. Now Linguists of the EPFL have developed one. It already translates word in several African languages into English. In the future, the scientists plan to add more languages, including non-African ones like Vietnamese or Finnish. (20 Minuten, 9 Oct 2015)


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!