As part of Oxford Global Languages (OGL) initiative, an initiative launched in September 2015 to build dictionaries and lexicographical resources for around 100 of the world’s languages and to make them available online, The Oxford University Press has launched a free online Kiswahili dictionary.
Now the fourth African language to be added to the programme, after Zulu, Northern Sotho, and Setswana, the OGL Kiswahili dictionary was adopted from Kamusi ya Kiswahili Sanifu, originally published by Oxford University Press East Africa, a leading dictionaries and schools publisher in Kenya for more than 60 years.
According to John Mwazemba OUPEA’s General Manager, “The launch of OGL Kiswahili provides a unique opportunity for all Kiswahili speakers across the globe to access highly researched and well explained Kiswahili words with ease. We are excited about the opportunity of having millions of users access our content, as well as contribute to its development.”
With Swahili digitised, users can get functionality such as predictive text and being able to search effectively. OGL will therefore transform the experience of millions of people worldwide by making content in their language available in digital form; on websites, in apps, and in many different tools and services.
The Oxford Global Languages initiative will also build a new type of language database which enables multiple links between languages and other content. The platform will also allow multiple languages can be stored and queried in a single platform.
“Digital communication across the globe is dominated by English and other major global languages such as Chinese and Spanish. We are at a critical time in the nexus of the internet and its impact on language diversity and viability, and the time to act is now,” said Judy Pearsall, Director for Oxford Dictionaries.