Alphabets & the Sonic Building Blocks of Language

An ongoing research project & public archive

Beginning in 2020, we started collecting crowdsourced, amateur voice recordings of adults reciting the alphabet (or other writing symbols) from their native language in the hopes of building a large public archive and online exhibition about the sounds of human speech.

Although we have managed to collect a large number of recordings, our archive is still in need of many more languages, particularly those indigenous to many areas in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

Listen to our current archive representing 36 languages (including several variations) below, which we have posted at Soundcloud.

#AddYourVoice: Contribute to the Archive!

If you or someone you know is a native speaker of a language we have not included in our archive and would like to contribute an alphabet recording, here’s what you can do:

  1. Make a recording. A simple voice message recorded on a mobile phone is fine! We are not requiring professional studio recordings.

  2. Send it to us! You can email your recording to museumofportablesound[AT]gmail.com.

That’s all there is to it!

Below is a list of some of the many languages we still need. This is not a complete list of languages in the world, merely major languages we are aware of that we do not currently have represented in our archive.

LANGUAGES WE STILL NEED:

Zulu • Xhosa • Swahili • Hausa • Yoruba • Oromo • Igbo • Shona • Hindi • Bengali • Odia • Assamese • Punjabi • Sindhi • Kashmiri • Marathi • Gujarati • Sinhala • Pashto • Balochi • Tibetan • Burmese • Karen • Boro • Georgian • Azerbaijani • Filipino • Khmer (Cambodian) • Korean • Nepali • Sindhi • Tamil • Thai • Uyghur • Uzbek • Vietnamese • Zhuang • Guaraní • Southern Quechua • Nahuatl • Zapotec • Navajo • Chinanteco • Cree • Ojibwe • Sioux • Cherokee • Aymara • Yucatec Maya • Qʼeqchiʼ • Australian Aboriginal English • Pakhana • Pitjantjatjara • Wororan • Laragiya • Garawa • Yirram • West Barkly • Djeragan • Hebrew • Welsh