Language is constantly changing. Words take on new meanings, 🔊 sounds shift, old uses disappear. Eventually, new languages emerge - Afrikaans forked from Dutch, for example - and old languages fade away. Where written records exist, we can pinpoint the earliest sightings of a term, and mark that usage until it drops from view.
By approaching terms at the sense level, we can treat terms as they were used in different eras, such as when "light" could be a wanton woman (Shakespeare's time) or when it became a traffic signal (first confirmed usage 1938). Among other reasons this information is important is that language change provides clues to human history, such as trade or conquest between 👪 people, the way tree rings reveal environmental events. The Kamusi architecture marks known times for a term to be used in a certain way, making it possible to trace flows, for example, from modern English back through Old English and Proto-Germanic to Proto-Indo-European, and from there across and forward to languages as diverse as Sanskrit, Greek, and Welsh.
We contend that our system will eventually open up much more 👅🎓 linguistic knowledge than can currently be gleaned from today's best references. This is how the Oxford English Dictionary treats the etymology of "light":
Old English léoht strong neuter (later lĕoht , Anglian lēht , early Middle English lĭht ) corresponds to Old Frisian liacht , Old Saxon lioht (Dutch licht ), Old High German lioht (Middle High German lieht , modern German licht ) < Old Germanic *leuhtom < pre-Germanic *leuktom (also *leukotom , whence Gothic liuhaþ ; for the suffix compare naked adj.), < Aryan root *leuk- to shine, be white.
Our design will make each of those ancestor terms an individual entry, pegged to meanings and other information in the language that was spoken at the time, with other relations linked as they are known. This has never been done; we propose that it will prove useful. While we do not have immediate plans to undertake detailed historical work, our platform can support it now. When sponsors and partners are ready to jump in, our time machine is ready to take them.
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.
•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
We are actively creating new software for you to make use of and contribute to the 🎓 knowledge we are bringing together. Learn about software that is ready for you to download or in development, and the unique data systems we are putting in place for advanced language learning and technology:
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.
Answers to general questions you might have about Kamusi services.
We are building this page around real questions from members of the Kamusi community. Send us a question that you think will help other visitors to the site, and frequently we will place the answer here.