Archives for the month of: May, 2016

The team developing the Kabiye Wikipedia has benefitted enormously from the recent publication of a huge dictionary of technical and scientific terms, the life’s work of Dr Karabou Potchoziou.

His dictionary is a goldmine. Dr Karabou has developed the specialist Kabiye vocabulary necessary for every imaginable branch of science: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, anatomy, botany, zoology, mathematics, sociology, psychology, meteorology, engineering, medicine, archaeology, economics… And the arts get good coverage too with extensive technical vocabulary developed for music, art, architecture, theatre, dance and sport…

The dictionary is astonishingly comprehensive. The four Wikipedia translators have been working with it every day for the past three months and have yet to look up a scientific term that isn’t in it. Every day it saves them from the need for long discussions about how to translate a scientific term: the thinking has already been done for them, and done well.

This is African language development at its very best. Congratulations to Dr Karabou for this extraordinary initiative.

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Wikipédia kabiyè 160523

The Kabiye Wikipedia now has over 400 articles in it, and we’ve also just uploaded translations of Wikipedia’s 500 most used messages, so soon the interface will be in Kabiye too. Congratulations to Emmanuel, Jonas, Dieudonné and Mauril for all their hard work over the past few months.

But what’s the point of having a Wikipedia in Kabiye? Here are three good reasons:

  1. Most Kabiye publications are about Kabiye culture – proverbs, folktales, accounts of ceremonies and rites of passages. That’s fine, but we wanted to show that Kabiye can be used as a window onto the wider world too. So in the Kabiye Wikipedia you’ll find articles on every imaginable subject: the Olympic games, the solar system, the Statue of Liberty, wind energy, the Great Barrier Reef, Charlie Chaplin…
  2. Learning how to read Kabiye mostly appeals to those who never went to school or who left school early. But there’s a growing educated, urban middle class who are computer-literate and are used to spending their leisure time in cyber cafés. We want to Kabiye literacy to attract them too, and Wikipedia is ideal for that.
  3. Most Kabiye books are published in print runs of just a few hundred, so they are relatively expensive to produce and don’t get wide distribution. Publishing on Wikipedia, on the other hand, is free, and once it’s published it’s available on any computer that has an internet connection worldwide. And, of course, you (or better still someone else) can edit it again after you’ve published.