This Online Dictionary helps Philippine communities preserve their languages

Philippine Online Dictionary languages
Hiligaynon-English is one of the 4 dictionaries that went live during the Marayum launch. Screenshot of Marayum.ph

The Marayum Online Dictionary developed by a team of University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman) computer science experts and linguists in collaboration with ASCCA Romblon (Asi Studies Center for Culture and the Arts) and funded by the Department of Science and Technology is helping Philippine communities preserve their indigenous languages.

The Project “Marayum” (Romblon Asi community term for “wise words”) presented by Professor Mario Carreon of the UP Department of Computer Science and by MA Linguistics student Samantha Sadural during a Linguistics Special Lecture of the UP Diliman Department of Linguistics in 2020 went online on mobile phones and the web last March 2021 during the International Mother Language Conference and Festival.

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Marayum.ph, the collaboratively built, mobile phone-based, online dictionary platform for Philippine languages, went live with dictionaries for Asi-English, Kinaray-a-English, Cebuano (Southern Leyte variant)-English, and Hiligaynon-English.

Sadural shared with GoodNewsPilipinas.com that current language dictionaries (with English as L2) being made in the backend using Marayum are:

  • Akeanon-English
  • Bikol-Buhi’non-English
  • Bikol-Central-English
  • Bikol-Rinconada-English
  • Gaddang-English
  • Itawis-English
  • Ivatan-English
  • Kapampangan-English
  • Masbatenyo-English
  • Ilocano-English
Marayum.ph is a collaboratively built, mobile phone-based, online dictionary platform for Philippine languages.

Marayum differs from other language dictionaries available on the Internet with its aim to give a sense of ownership to the language community’s dictionary as it is built and maintained by the community for the community.

The online dictionary addresses the need to document languages in the Philippines. The Marayum team cites that of 185 languages in the Philippines, 28 are endangered, 11 are dying off, and four are extinct.

The dictionary team welcomes communities interested in starting their dictionary using Marayum. To prioritize interested and invested language communities the team requests emails sent to kumusta.marayum@gmail.com

Other efforts to preserve Philippine languages include Google Philippines’ initiative to add the Cebuano and other local languages translated in over 100 languages on Google Translate’s Word Lens using a smartphone camera, a Filipino language course offered in the Humboldt University of Berlin, and Filipino language and culture studies offered in Alberta, Canada schools.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the Marayum team for launching the Online Dictionary to help Philippine communities preserve their indigenous languages!

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Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.