Introduction


Many languages are in danger of being lost and, if nothing is done to prevent it, it is estimated that half of the world's approximately 6500 languages will disappear in the next 100 years. Total death of a language occurs when a language that was previously used by a certain community is no longer spoken. This brings about the loss of cultural heritage, for language is a unique medium for its traditions and culture. Language data are central to the interests of social science research communities, including linguists, anthropologists, archeologists, historians, sociologists and political scientists interested in culture of indigenous people.

Besides popular and official world languages, many people are fluent in a diversity of regional dialects. Over time many of these languages fade away and with this significant elements of culture and history are lost. As a result, there is a need for a system to collect, archive and disseminate dictionaries for various languages. The system should allow for searching and browsing through dictionaries, perform translations from one language to another, and include etymology and annotations.

WordBank aims to help to collect and preserve languages through the use of mobile and Web technologies to aid the process. WordBank is therefore, divided into three parts: the Web Interface, the Cellphone Interface and the Back-end. The diagram below shows the proposed solution: