Its premise is simple: a world map shows each country and breaks it down to regions as you zoom in. When you click on a region, if sound has been uploaded the dialect and voice from that location will play.
The website launched on January 8 and has already had around 500,000 visitors recording 18,000 different voices. Anyone, on Android or desktop, can click on their region to record their voice if it’s missing. The iOS APIs don’t allow it to work on Apple devices.
“I was wandering around Ukraine when the idea came to me to put all the different languages and dialects I was hearing on the web,” Ding told WIRED. “One of the more difficult aspects of the project was acquiring the flag and emblem image for every region and city in the world. I had to write a primitive data-mining bot that scoured search engines and Wikipedia for these images.” […]
Eventually, Ding wants Localingual to become a “Wikipedia of languages and dialects spoken around the world”.
It’s a great premise, no question, but at the moment (and I realize it’s still in the earliest stages), the execution is… well, I went to Russia and so far have been unable to find an actual example of a dialect being spoken; I have found several sound files of names of cities, and when I clicked on “Leningrad” got the following list of cities:
suka blyat Сука блядь
The first one, Сука блядь, is actually a phrase meaning more or less ‘fucking whore.’ So yeah, kind of like Wikipedia except that vandalism doesn’t get swooped down on and removed by vigilant editors. On the plus side, if you click on “Сука блядь” the pronunciation is impeccable. (Thanks, Trevor!)