At the occasion of the International Mother Tongue Day, which took place yesterday, the Kamusi Global Online Living Dictionary (GOLD) announced that Kinyarwanda will soon be added.
Kamusi began as a bilingual dictionary between Swahili and English, created by Dr Martin Benjamin at Yale University in December 1994. The project spun off from Yale in 2007, and became two independent NGOs: KamusiProject USA is an American organization, and Kamusi Project International is based in Geneva and handles all international operations.
After noticing the success of the project, two Rwandan professors approached the Kamusi Project initiator to expand the idea to Kinyarwanda. They were Geoffrey Rugege, who was then at Grambling State University and now works in Kigali for the ministry of education, and the late Ibulaimu Kakoma, who was then at University of Illinois.
Currently, Rwandan contributors are Emmanuel Habumuremyi, who is working on a Kinyarwanda-English dictionary project since 1998, and the publication of which is expected by December 2013. Habumuremyi is also editor of a Kinyarwanda online dictionary created by Dr Rowan Saymour.
Kamusi GOLD will link Kinyarwanda to every other language in the system which include not only English and Swahili, but also Luganda, Setswana, Ekegusii, Pulaar, Songhay (all African languages), Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. In the near future, Romanian, French, German, East Franconian, and Urdu, and in Africa by Kihehe and Shiyeyi, will be added.
The dictionary, which is freely available, is open for everyone to contribute new entries and fix or improve existing ones.