What is the Oxford Global Languages programme?

Oxford Global Languages (OGL) is a major initiative from OUP to build lexicographical resources for 100 of the world’s languages and to make them available online. For the first time, large quantities of quality lexical information for a huge range of languages will be systematically created, collected, and made available, in a single linked repository, to speakers, learners and developers. The programme’s objective is to transform the experience of millions of people worldwide by making content in their language available in digital form, on websites, in apps, and in many different tools and services.  

The OGL initiative will:

  • Build content relating to living languages, including their variants and dialects, truly recording how they are used today
  • Increase global access to language resources by building a vast data store of language data that is accessible, linked, and reusable
  • Enable the development of new digital tools and resources to revitalize and support world languages
  • Increase awareness and sense of community about language worldwide


OGL aims to have at least 100 languages in total and we know this will take a number of years to achieve. We started with just ten very different languages from a range of regions, each with different levels of digital presence, to demonstrate the OGL principles and challenge our assumptions as we go. As we go forward we will continue to include a variety of languages including both global and digitally under-represented languages.

Oxford Global Languages launched its first two language sites, isiZulu and Northern Sotho, in 2015. Malay, Urdu, Setswana, Indonesian, Romanian and Latvian have followed, with many more due to be added over the next few years.

Want to know more?

Community involvement

We are working closely with local language communities to create living dictionaries. Our goal is for users to feel a part of supporting and developing resources for their language.


OGL combines OUP’s tradition of digital innovation with the wide reach and scale of our global dictionaries programme.


OUP’s mission as a department of the University of Oxford is to spread knowledge and learning through the excellence of its publishing.

See the first sites for yourself:
Northern Sotho nso.oxforddictionaries.com 
isiZulu zu.oxforddictionaries.com
Urdu ur.oxforddictionaries.com
Malay ms.oxforddictionaries.com
Indonesian id.oxforddictionaries.com
Setswana tn.oxforddictionaries.com
Latvian lv.oxforddictionaries.com
Romanian ro.oxforddictionaries.com

Timeline for future languages

Sept 2016 – Hindi and Kiswahili launch
The future – 100+ languages launched

Note: The foundation for the lexical data in this website was originally published by Oxford University Press Pakistan in 2013 as the Oxford Urdu - English Dictionary (Chief Editor Rauf Parekh, Compilers S. M Salimuddin; Suhail Anjum)

The opinions and other information contained in OxfordWords blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Oxford University Press.

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