Meet Marayum: An online community dictionary that saves indigenous languages from dying

Language is a powerful tool, and keeping indigenous languages intact preserves heritage and identity. A community dictionary that chronicles words from these local languages is an important first step in ensuring these languages remain alive.

Keeping Philippine languages alive is what motivated the team behind Marayum, an online dictionary that allows communities to grow and maintain its lexicon, according to the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). A team of computer scientists and linguists developed Marayum, led by Mario Carreon, assistant professor of the Department of Computer Science at UP Diliman.

The project is funded by DOST-PCIEERD.

Marayum, which translates to “wise words” in the Asi language in Romblon, currently supports four languages: Asi-English, Cebuano-English, Cebuano-English, Hiligaynon-English, and Kinaray-a-English.

Users who want to contribute may apply for an account at the Marayum website. Members’ submissions will undergo evaluation by Marayum’s editors and reviewers who have been peer-reviewed for their knowledge and expertise in any of the supported languages.

“Project Marayum was built through a collaborative effort of different communities. As an online dictionary platform for Philippine languages, it aims to empower native language speakers to create and curate an online dictionary of their language without needing to have technical expertise in website design, implementation, and maintenance”, DOST said in a statement.

Although Marayum only supports a limited number of languages for now, other dictionaries are in the works, including Bikol-Buhi’non, Bikol-Central, Bikol-Rinconada, Masbatenyo, Kapampangan, Chavacano, Gaddang, Inakyeanon, Waray, and Ilocano with corresponding English translations.

Visit Marayum here.

Read: Not Good: PH slides down to 27th spot in global English proficiency ranking

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