Bias in Dictionaries

Bias regarding language occurs in many forms beyond outright bigotry. Kamusi is affected by at least four kinds:
  1. The soft bigotry of low expectations. Most people do not expect high-quality resources for languages that do not have big economic footprints. Many feel that speakers of non-lucrative languages should darn-tootin' learn a language like English or French, or make do with any crumbs that fall their way. Why should we worry about Zapotec, for example, when the path to success in Mexico involves getting jobs in Spanish? This attitude is pervasive among policy-makers and foundations, many average citizens of the wealthy world who would gladly donate to eradicate other inequities, and even sometimes held by less-resourced language speakers themselves who do not have reason to hope that they will ever find their languages viable in technological or global economic domains. If nobody expects that great things are possible, then nobody demands them - and it is therefore impossible to rouse the funds to bring them into existence.
  2. Concept bias. Kamusi is seeded by many open datasets, so our terms reflect the interests of their compilers. For example, WordNet includes Captain James Cook, but not Hawaii's King Kalaniʻōpuʻu who Cook died trying to seize. We are working toward including as many indigenous ideas as possible, but you have to know a concept exists in order to include it in the dictionary, and such terms are often absent from our seed data.
  3. Definition bias. The people of Hawaii would be surprised to hear that James Cook "discovered" them, but that view of history was what guided the author of the WordNet definition. We welcome your help finding and fixing questionable definitions.
  4. Ranking bias. People tend to assume that their top search result is the most relevant. If we have three meanings for "draw" (draw a picture, draw a sword, draw water), we have to list one first, but that arbitrary ranking has no relationship to your needs at a given moment. Teachers often complain that their students use the wrong term because it was listed first on Kamusi. Our response is to try to flesh out each sense with definitions and usage examples that make clear to the user whether they have the right term - a task that will take years, and needs your help.
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Kamusi GOLD

These are the languages for which we have datasets that we are actively working toward putting online. Languages that are Active for you to search are marked with "A" in the list below.

Key

•A = Active language, aligned and searchable
•c = Data 🔢 elicited through the Comparative African Word List
•d = Data from independent sources that Kamusi participants align playing 🐥📊 DUCKS
•e = Data from the 🎮 games you can play on 😂🌎🤖 EmojiWorldBot
•P = Pending language, data in queue for alignment
•w = Data from 🔠🕸 WordNet teams

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Our biggest struggle is keeping Kamusi online and keeping it free. We cannot charge money for our services because that would block access to the very people we most want to benefit, the students and speakers of languages around the world that are almost always excluded from information technology. So, we ask, request, beseech, beg you, to please support our work by donating as generously as you can to help build and maintain this unique public resource.

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