Some of you may know that I was in Berlin, Germany attending the Wikimedia
Diversity Conference .
I presented on the language diversity in India and the kind of challenges
and opportunities it presents to the Wikimedia movement at large. Other
than reflecting on the work Wikimedia communities in India, WMIN and
CIS-A2K are doing, I have also proposed and talked briefly about a new
project called WikiSpeech.
As per the 2013 PLSI there are 780 languages in India and we have just
about 20 Indian language Wikipedias. Most of these languages are oral
cultures and are spoken by small pockets of the population. Thus it may not
make much sense for these communities to have a Wikipedia or any of the
Wikimedia projects that are text/script intensive. I deeply believe that
WikiSpeech can go a long way in preserving the language diversity in India
and the world at large. I was thinking through a model based on the work
done by a) George A. Grierson during 1898-1928 (the first Linguistic Survey
of India); b) the recent PLSI work (2013); c) CG Net Swara (which
effectively leveraged mobile in creating a community led journalistic
venture in the tribal language of Gonds of central India); and d)
platform that allows one to annotate visual and audio.
The code is
These are initial ideas and are very much unbaked. The presentation, I
did, only has one slide and may not give a lot of detail, but if any one of
you is interested, I will be more than glad to discuss this off-list. I
have also had a long conversation with Gerard Meijssen about Wiki-Data and
the possibilities of opening up knowledge for diverse linguistic
communities in India.
You can find the link to the presentation  and the etherpad . A
Round-up session on Geographic diversity and Language pluralism on
Wikimedia was also organized. You can see brief discussion here .
I am thankful to the Wikimedia Diversity Conference organizers for the
travel and stay scholarship they have provided. Look forward to hearing
your thoughts and ideas on, if and how could we develop these ideas further.