Yochai's mother language is Hebrew, which originally went extinct as a spoken language more than 1,000 years ago. However, thanks to an abundance of literature preserved over the centuries, cultural activists were empowered to revive the language in the 1800s. Today, Hebrew is once again the mother tongue of nearly half the world's Jewish population. By sharing content and data in every language in the world, we're working towards a future when such a revival is possible for every community—and when languages aren't lost in the first place.

Language preservation

Wikitongues collects video oral histories from each of the world's more than 7,000 language communities, preserving our common cultural heritage and amplifying stories from around the world. We publish our videos under a creative commons license to facilitate free educational use and raise awareness about the vast sum of human experience.

We compile word lists, phrasebooks, and dictionaries, a crucial step toward ensuring that every language is well documented, preserving it for future generations. We work to guarantee that students always have access, academics always have data, and activists always have resources to sustain and defend their cultures.

Follow our efforts and subscribe on YouTube, or like us on Facebook and Twitter for new language videos every week. You can also join our mailing list and stay up to date.

Our work empowers people to share their languages with everyone, making linguistic preservation easier than ever.

Language tools

Language preservation movements must be led by the communities experiencing language loss, not outside organizations. That's why in addition to collecting content in every language, we're developing free and open source technology to make it easy for language students, educators, and activists to produce their own linguistic documentation for the benefit of their communities.

Our first such tool, Poly, streamlines the process of creating and sharing dictionaries between any two languages. Speakers of languages without a written standard, including the world's more than 200 sign languages, are supported by native video functionality. Fork us on Github and join our community of open source developers!

To learn more, join our mailing list and stay up to date. If you're interested in partnering with us, drop us a line at hello@wikitongues.org.

Véronique and Sandra speaking Swiss French Sign Language and Swiss German Sign Language. With four official languages—German, French, Italian, and Romansh—Switzerland has been lauded as a model country for promoting linguistic diversity. However, the country's three sign languages receive sparse government support, leaving deaf communities and organizations to produce their own documentation and educational tools.

On the ground, we partner with aligned organizations to amplify grassroots efforts toward cultural exchange.

Aaku speaking Newari, a Himalayan language from Nepal, in New York City. Official language counts for NYC vary widely, ranging from 200 to as many as 800 unique mother tongues. In coordination with aligned organizations, Wikitongues is working to reconcile those numbers and empower government institutions, as well as local businesses, to expand and improve language services in their communities.

Language activism

In addition to our core activities, Wikitongues is proud to collaborate with aligned organizations, institutions, and communities to promote better language services and increase cultural awareness around the world.

In coordination with the Queens Public Library in New York City, Wikitongues is conducting borough-wide linguistic surveys as a first step towards producing a comprehensive language map of the world's most linguistically dense city. We will also be working with the Liberian Cultural Association to record oral histories from Staten Island's many diaspora and immigrant communities.

Starting Summer 2017, Wikitongues will be aiding the Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program by providing technology support to a new language curriculum for helping newcomers adjust to life in the United States.

If you're a language activist and think Wikitongues can help your movement, send a message to hello@wikitongues.org. We would be honored to work with you!