The Wikitongues User Group was recognized as a Wikimedia user group in May 10, 2018. This report outlines our accomplishments and activities between May 3rd, 2018 and May 2nd, 2019.
Wikitongues is a not-for-profit organization and volunteer community that educates the public about linguistic diversity and how to sustain it. In particular, we help people around the world create and archive documentation in their languages, especially video oral histories and distribute guides for getting involved with language preservation, revitalization, and sustainability.
Our user group was founded with two objectives:
- Facilitate Wikitongues contribution to Wikimedia projects, especially in the form of language content on the Wikimedia Commons.
- Promote linguistic diversity in the Wikimedia movement through language-centered events and campaigns.
Wikitongues began contributing to the Wikimedia Commons on June 24th, 2016, about two years before our user group was recognized. As of this report, we have contributed 315 language videos to the Wikimedia Commons, representing 250 unique languages. A lifetime index of videos contributed to the Wikimedia Commons may be found here.
Since our user group was recognized, we have updated our overall licensing system to encourage contributors to submit videos under a CC-by-SA 4.0 license and systemized our contribution flow to Wikimedia Projects: if a video is submitted on Wikitongues platforms with the appropriate license, it will be published on the Commons and if a video is contributed to Wikitongues through the Wikimedia Commons, we will archive it internally. This ensures that as our community grows and engages through the project from increasingly different touchpoints, we can maintain confidence about the contents of every video our community produces.
Between May 3rd, 2018 and May 2nd, 2019, Wikitongues contributed 220 language videos to the Wikimedia Commons, representing 189 unique languages.
Languages on CommonsEdit
Between May 3rd, 2018 and May 2nd, 2019, Wikitongues contributed videos in 189 unique languages to the Wikimedia Commons. Notably, 11 of these languages are Indigenous to Indonesia's Borneo provinces, unlisted on Ethnologue and Glottolog, and therefore potentially unclassified.
|ISO Code (639-3/6)*||Language Name|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Bedineh|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Bedamea|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Benana|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Beahe|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Be Eih|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Bekambai|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Bekoeh|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Bemak|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Bengape|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Beaye|
|No code - potentially unclassified||Mentuka|
|No code - understudied||Bildts|
|No code - understudied||Transylvanian Saxon|
|No code - constructed language||Kreel|
|No code - constructed language||Toki Pona|
|No code - Asturleonese variety||Leonese|
|acm||Arabic, Mesopotamian Spoken|
|aeb||Arabic, Tunisian Spoken|
|apc||Arabic, North Levantine Spoken|
|arq||Arabic, Algerian Spoken|
|ary||Arabic, Moroccan Spoken|
|dse||Sign Language of the Netherlands|
|gyn||Guyanese Creole English|
|fse||Finnish Sign Language|
|fss||Finland-Swedish Sign Language|
|ssp||Spanish Sign Language|
Videos and Audio on CommonsEdit
Between May 3rd, 2018 and May 2nd, 2019, Wikitongues contributed videos in 220 unique languages to the Wikimedia Commons.
To promote multilingualism on Wikipedia projects, we organized translate-a-thons and helped develop the record-a-thon, a new event format for contributing oral histories—representing oral and traditional knowledge—to Wikimedia projects.
Between May 3rd, 2018 and May 2nd, 2019, Wikitongues co-organized the following translate-a-thons:
- The April 2018 Translate-A-Thon at LaGuardia Community College in New York City; and
- The Afro-Recordathon in at LaGuardia Community College in New York City.
The Afro-Recordathon at LaGuardia Community College in New York City contained a record-a-thon component. In addition to providing support for Wikimedians interested in translation, we operated a recording room where participants shared oral history. Three people joined us in person. One person self-recorded and contributed remotely from Ghana, making this a transatlantic event.
AfroCROWD and WhoseKnowledge?Edit
In coordination with the AfroCROWD User Group, WhoseKnowledge? and LaGuardia Community College, we organized the translate-a-thons described above. The video station at the Afro Record-A-Thon yielded four videos, including one oral history of Jesse Hameen II, who is featured on Wikipedia, and one transatlantic contribution from Ghana.
Leena shared her family history, including her father's emigration to the United States
Dr Luv is a Jamaican musician who shared a brief history of ska music
Samuel submitted an oral history in his language Ghana
Wikimedians of the LevantEdit
In coordination with Wikimedians of the Levant, we recorded a fluent speaker of Syriac and the head of a local church in Amman, Jordan.
Syriac language interview, included in the Videos and Audio on Commons table above.
Odia Wikimedians User GroupEdit
At Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town, Daniel Bogre Udell (talk), Subhashish Panigrahi (talk), Sailesh Patnaik staffed a joint Wikitongues, Odia Wikimedians, and O Foundation table at the community village. Together, we recorded 18 Wikimedians speaking their languages.
Amir speaking Russian and Hebrew
Cahyo speaking Javanese
Gereon speaking English
Gereon speaking German
Hasive speaking Bengali
Iddy speaking Swahili
Josh speaking Tagalog
Mahmoud speaking Iraqi Arabic
Mckensie speaking English
Mohammed speaking Dagbani
Nataev speaking Uzbek
Netha speaking Malayalam
Olaniyan speaking Yoruba
Ranjith speaking Malayalam
Roussow speaking Afrikaans
Sam speaking English
William speaking English
Chabota speaking Nyanja
Wikipedia Day NYCEdit
Daniel Bogre Udell (talk) participated in Wikipedia as a Global Project, a panel discussion about cultural and linguistic diversity in the Wikimedia movement, especially in light the of 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Daniel Bogre Udell (talk) expanded on his 2017 lightning talk with a full-length presentation on the Wikitongues mission and activities.
WikiConference North AmericaEdit
Wiki Loves Africa 2019Edit
Wikitongues is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation registered in the U.S. state of New York since 2014. Our fiscal year runs from January to December. During our User Group's first year, which ran from May 3rd, 2018 to May 2nd, 2018, we allocated our budget exclusively to programs outside Wikimedia and, as such, all Wikitongues contributions to Wikimedia were entirely volunteer-driven without supporting expenses. Our organization's Statement of Activities for the period of May 3rd, 2018 to May 2nd, 2019 is included below.
Revenues, Gains, and Other SupportEdit
|Private contributions||$13,900.95 USD|
|Government contracts and grants||$0.00 USD|
|Private foundation grants||$0.00 USD|
|Other (such as contracts)||$4,073.68 USD|
|Total revenues, gains, and other support||$17,974.63 USD|
Expenses and lossesEdit
|Management and general||$4,826.18 USD|
|Growth and fund raising||$32.60 USD|
|Total expenses and loses||$4,858.78 USD|
|Net assets at beginning of cycle||$1,316.77 USD|
|Net assets to date||$14,432.62 USD|
|Change in net assets||$13,115.85 USD|
Though Wikitongues has informally contributed to Wikimedia projects since 2016, our first year as a recognized user group saw a vast expansion in our contributions and strong coordination with other parts of the movement. We contributed oral histories in nearly two hundred languages from every populated continent, contributed to events on two continents, and helped set a precedent for a new event format for preserving oral and traditional knowledge, the record-a-thon. By all measures, this was a successful year.
Looking forward, we could improve in two areas.
Our Commons category page could be better organized, with a clearer hierarchy of sub-categories that distinguish between documentation of the user group and its members (i.e., event photos, recorded presentations, etc) and the user group's actual contributions (language videos, and so on), as well as breaking down these two larger categories into manageable sub-categories. Additionally, some contributions listed under Wikitongues sub-categories are not listed under the Wikitongues meta category. This makes it hard for would-be contributors to sift through media and add it to other relevant Wikipedia projects like Wikipedia. An overhaul is needed.
Additionally, our contributions are underutilized. Most videos aren't included in relevant Wikipedia pages and we have yet to contribute to other projects that could benefit from Wikitongues content, like Wikivoyage. Contribution beyond the Commons will help further our stated objective of expanding linguistic diversity across Wikimedia projects.
Though just 47 users are formal members of the Wikitongues User Group, 92 unique authors contributed videos with Wikimedia-appropriate CC-by-SA licenses between May 3rd, 2018 and May 2nd, 2019. This indicates that we could do a better job onboarding external Wikitongues volunteers to Wikimedia.
Broadly, we could make Wikitongues-Wikimedia contribution easier using the following strategies:
- Routinely messaging User Group members with edit suggestions, such as contributing certain videos on the Commons to relevant Wikipedia articles;
- Including better resources for recording language videos on our User Group meta page; and
- Designing templates for organizing translate-a-thons and record-a-thons, so that Wikitongues members can more quickly launch language-centered Wikimedia events, wherever they are.