A new digital, global languages programme, the Oxford Global Languages Initiative, aims to extend learning and education worldwide. It aims “to bring content for 100 languages online…” and “…make the content available to users and developers all over the world” says Katherine Soroya, the Programme’s Communities Marketing Executive. The programme allows for language and dictionary content to be stored, linked and accessed by anyone who knows how to turn on an electronic device (so perhaps not your grandma- but you can teach her).
The programme officially launched in October 2014 with the aim of supporting digitally under-represented languages, as well as the world’s major languages, “giv[ing] all languages a living, growing, vibrant presence in the digital landscape, and help to document them, including their variants and dialects”. There are many sources online that claim to be free languages sites, but very few exist to create a resource as broad and deeply researched for so many varying languages as OGL. OGL has big visions for the online lexicographical future, planning to have at least 100 languages in total, Soraya explains that, “[they] started with just ten very different languages from a range of regions, each with different levels of digital presence, to demonstrate the OGL principles and challenge our assumptions as we go. As we go forward we will continue to include a variety of languages including both global and digitally under-represented languages.”
Helping the Oxford Global Languages initiative accumulate their vast lexical resource and ensure they have accurate translations, are a range of language managers, who have expert knowledge on the local language community. The language managers range from external advisers on technical and culture language aspects; additionally they brought on the help of Language Champions who are external advisers on technical and culture language aspects. For those wanting to dip into languages that are less than well-known or immerse themselves more in their own native language, the Oxford Global Languages initiative provides a useful stepping stone.
Oxford Global Language Initiative