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This community-built online dictionary will teach you Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and more

By AYIE LICSI Published Aug 23, 2021 5:10 pm Updated Aug 24, 2021 8:33 pm

The Philippines is home to over 170 languages—some of which are becoming endangered. In an effort to help save and preserve these languages by teaching more people about these linguistic and cultural gems, Project Marayum was born.

Marayum (which means wise words in Asi) is an online dictionary platform developed by a team of computer scientists and linguists together with different communities. The team, led by University of the Philippines Diliman assistant professor Mario Carreon, created a platform where native language speakers can create and curate an online dictionary of their own languages. 

The first dictionary uploaded was the Asi-English translations and for this, entries from registered Asi language speakers were collected and peer-reviewed by assigned language experts.

Currently, Marayum hosts four dictionaries: Asi-English, Cebuano-English, Hiligaynon-English, and Kinaray-a-English.

Here are a few entries and definitions we found from the online dictionary:

  • Nayusrok (Asi) - noun: one of the two round organs on the upper half of the face that is used to see things with.
  • Way sapajan (Cebuano) - interjection: a polite word used to respond to a thank you.
  • Ginaray (Bikol-Central) - adverb: returning to a previous position or condition.
  • Bino (Kinaray-a) - noun: an alcoholic drink made from the fermented juice of certain fruits or vegetables.
  • Maluya (Hiligaynon) - adverb: having little strength, energy, or power.

Other dictionaries are being collated using the platform including Bikol-Buhi’non, Bikol-Central, Bikol-Rinconada, Masbatenyo, Kapampangan, Chavacano, Gaddang, Inakyeanon, Waray, and Ilocano.

Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit expressed support to the project and underscored its importance in celebration of Buwan ng Wika.

"The national language is as symbolic as the country's own freedom, giving it its unique identity as a sovereign nation. This Buwan ng Wika, we can also celebrate other local languages in the country through this project," Paringit said.

Project Marayum is funded by the DOST and monitored by the DOST-PCIEERD.

In the past, there have been other online dictionaries for Filipino dialects like bohol.ph/diksyunaryo (Cebuano and Hiligaynon to English/Tagalog) and binisaya.com (Cebuano to English), but these platforms don't allow registered members to contribute like Marayum.