Tamil and Gujarati have joined Hindi to become the second and third Indian languages as part of Oxford Dictionaries' global languages initiative.
Launched in September 2015 Oxford Global Languages (OGL) is a major initiative from Oxford Dictionaries which aims to build dictionaries and lexicographical resources for around 100 of the world's languages and to make them available online.
For the first time, large quantities of quality lexical information for a huge range of languages will be systematically created, collected, and made available, in a single linked repository, to speakers, learners, and developers. The programme's objective is to 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.
"OGL is a bold initiative from Oxford University Press for a modern challenge and a huge opportunity" explained Judy Pearsall, Director for Oxford Dictionaries. "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."
"As we develop more languages for OGL, we are putting a special focus on Indian languages," said Pearsall. "India has a remarkable linguistic landscape with a richness and history that is found in few other places on the planet. Yet with only 35 percent of the Indian population using the Internet, OGL's mission to help digital communication through building resources for the world's languages is clearer than ever. We are very proud to be launching Tamil and Gujarati dictionaries as part of our global mission."
"We are excited at the launch of the Tamil and Gujarati online dictionaries following the launch of the Hindi online dictionary last year. The development of online dictionaries and lexicographical resources in various regional languages is testimony to OUP's longstanding commitment of growing its reach among learners across the region," said MD Oxford University Press India, Sivaramakrishnan Venkateswaran.
"The availability of curated and well-researched language content in digitized formats not just enables anytime access but also positively impacts learning and educational outcomes," added Venkateswaran.
A key feature of Oxford Global Languages is the language community itself, and as such the team works closely with local language communities to create living dictionaries. The goal is for users to feel a part of supporting and developing resources for their language.
These two new sites will be supported by a Language Champion who will provide strategic advice and help grow awareness of the initiative. Dr. Poonam Nigam Sahay, Associate Professor at Ranchi University, is the Hindi Language Champion.
"A thoughtful and praiseworthy initiative by OGL" Poonam stated. "Including Hindi in the [OGL] repertoire will undoubtedly enrich the language. and lend a solid support to its fast and phenomenal development" she explained.
The Oxford Global Languages initiative will also build a new type of language database which enables multiple links between languages and other content. Oxford Dictionaries has developed an innovative new Lexical Engine and Platform (LEAP) where our datasets can be integrated, standardized, and shared. This means that multiple languages can be stored and queried in a single platform.
"The addition of Gujarati and Tamil to the Oxford Dictionaries API gives a rapidly growing developer community access to this language data in a structured and flexible way, possibly for the first time, and enables the creation of content and applications that serve a huge language population." Philip Reimann the Senior Product Manager added.