The Kamusi Project has launched its new multilingual dictionary platform, the Global Online Living Dictionary (KamusiGOLD). Emerging from the earlier Internet Living Swahili Dictionary, the new system is designed to link languages together at the level of the concept. Every term is defined in its own language, and then linked to equivalent concepts in other languages, producing monolingual dictionaries for each language and bilingual dictionaries between each participating language.

You can see how the new Kamusi differs from other dictionaries by watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B64utkf78g

A lot of features are still in development, but the core functionality is now live for sixteen languages, including nine from Africa. The multilingual beta includes a demonstration set of 100 concepts with parallel entries in each language.

You can access the demo set at http://kamusi.org/kamusi-dictionary-terms-first-100-words

Insider tip: If you are registered and logged in, you can select "My Languages", which will then be prioritized for you in your results display. You could, for example, choose to display all of the Bantu languages in "My Languages", which would then highlight the terms for equivalent concepts in Swahili, Hehe, Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Yeyi, Gusii, and Tswana.

The project is continuing to work on bringing new languages into the demonstration set. The objective is twofold. First, to get each language configured for its individual complexities, and to train language specialists to the point that they feel comfortable using the system, so that the language is ready to accelerate in the next phase of rapid vocabulary development. Second, to showcase the potential that inclusion in the global online system has for each language, in order to attract the next-phase support for building a full 20,000 term dictionary component for that language. People who are interested in working on configuration and data for the first 100 terms for their languages are invited to contact the Kamusi Project.

With the various systems in place or in development, including morpheme and parsing systems to capture every word form efficiently, ratings for the degree of equivalence between terms in different languages, and a method to group and rank senses and translations, the goal is to produce a tool that is not just a dictionary, but can serve as the core of a host of future language technologies, as discussed briefly in this article at New Scientist: