Motorola partners Lenovo Foundation to bring alive indigenous languages digital inclusion initiative 


Motorola, in partnership with the Lenovo Foundation, announces the next  phase of indigenous language’s digital inclusion project with the addition of two new endangered  languages – Kuvi and Kangri – spoken in regions of India. This initiative makes Motorola the first OEM to  support the preservation of indigenous endangered languages from regions in India. 

This initiative is a step towards Motorola’s commitment to embracing inclusivity and delivering smarter  technology for all, by delivering the first-ever Kuvi language writing system and keyboard, and a fully  localized Kangri smartphone User Interface to the devices.* 

India tops UNESCO Atlas of World’s Languages in Danger list with 197 endangered languages, out of 2,464  endangered languages around the world, followed by the U.S. (191) and Brazil (190). When selecting the  languages for this most recent phase of the project, Motorola analyzed many factors including the  percentage of speakers in the communities to indicate loss of language, community access to  technologies, engagement with the broader community, and availability of linguistics resources. This led  the teams to find out that while the Kuvi language community accounts for about 155,000 people,  primarily living in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, India, only about 9% of the people in the region still speak 

the language. Similarly, it was discovered that while Kangri is spoken by around 1.7 million people in India,  only a very small fraction are fluent speakers.  

The first-ever Kuvi language writing system 

Motorola and the Lenovo Foundation worked closely with the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) under the guidance of Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS, and leadership of Dr. Sushree Sangita  Mohanty and received tremendous support from the Kuvi speakers & language experts to determine the  needs of the Kuvi communities in all regions where Kuvi is spoken. This helped determine the most important step to develop the first-ever Kuvi language writing system to preserve the Kuvi language. As  next steps, to facilitate the usage of this new written system, the teams created a Kuvi keyboard  supporting 4 scripts – Kuvi Odia, Kuvi Telugu, Kuvi Devanagari and Kuvi Latin. The new keyboard will be  made available for download on the Google Play Store to help with the utilization of the written form in  smartphones and allow for other forms of digitization.  

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology  (KIIT) and Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) said, “KISS with support from Lenovo Foundation has  been integral in bringing together members of the tribal communities (Kondh, Kond and Jatapu), linguistic  & technical experts and various other fraternity to collaborate with the Motorola Software Globalization  team, to develop a keyboard for Kuvi Language. They have developed a writing system for Kuvi in 4  different scripts namely Kuvi-Odia, Kuvi- Devanagari, Kuvi-Telugu & Kuvi-Latin enabling 155000 speakers  from these communities who are natives of Odisha and some parts of Andhra Pradesh- to communicate  with each other via text. This initiative sets the path for the revival of many more such languages, helping  to preserve the rich legacy, knowledge and heritage that rests in the depths of our country. This is a  commendable use of technology to create a truly inclusive world, where communities living on the fringes,  integrate into the larger world of opportunities.”

The first fully localized Kangri Smartphone User Interface 

Motorola also worked alongside linguists, scholars, and experts from the Kangra, Hamirpur and Una  districts of Himachal Pradesh, to deliver the first fully localized Kangri (क ांगड़ी) Smartphone User Interface,  in both AOSP content and Motorola Experience apps. To make the Kangri experience seamless on the devices, Motorola added Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) support with a richer Kangri  language data and user interface, all locale-specific patterns for formatting and parsing such as dates,  times, currency, measure units, country & language information, localizing English words into Kangri on  the devices which means from the moment a Kangri user sets up their device, they can select the language  and navigate a richer UI for both Android AOSP and Motorola experiences.  

Professor Suhnu Sharma, consultant to Motorola’s Endangered Indigenous Language Initiative for  Kangri, said, “With just about 1.7 million speakers of Kangri from a total 1.4 billion people who make India,  Motorola and Lenovo Foundation’s language revitalization effort is truly a testimony of their commitment  to preserving endangered languages. The project was humongous and extremely gratifying, as  researchers, tribals, linguists, and tech professionals, worked together to localize over 200,000 English  words into Kangri on Motorola’s devices, which will enable Kangri speakers to set up their device in their  language and navigate their phone in their mother tongue. This initiative is an excellent example of  technology working for diversity and inclusion.” 

Prashanth Mani, Executive Director, Motorola Mobility Asia Pacific, added, “We at Motorola are  extremely proud to demonstrate the power of a mobile phone in contributing to something significant as  saving a language. As the first OEM to fully support the effort to protect endangered languages, Motorola  India is excited to have brought the next phase of our indigenous languages’ digital inclusion initiative to  fruition with the addition of two new languages – Kuvi and Kangri -spoken in regions of India. With massive  penetration of smartphone users in India, this integration of native languages in written form will make  these languages seen, spoken, and heard. By preserving these languages, we are contributing to  preserving a wealth of culture and legacy, so unique and important to the diversity of our nation.” 

To further its efforts in bringing more awareness and action to revitalize endangered indigenous  languages, this past December, the brand has also partnered with UNESCO to conduct further research  on the impact and potential of digitizing endangered indigenous languages. Over the last two years, the  teams have worked with indigenous communities to ensure the support of three such languages to its  devices – Cherokee (spoken in the United States), Kaingang (spoken in Brazil) and Nheengatu (spoken in  the Amazon). The integration of Kuvi and Kangri into the phones in India is the next phase of this  programme. Hezekiel Dlamini, Officer-in-Charge, UNESCO New Delhi, commented, “Lenovo and  Motorola, in collaboration with UNESCO New Delhi Office, is in the planning phase to develop a toolkit  sharing experience and technology in digitalizing endangered indigenous languages. This is in line with our  shared vision for digital inclusion of indigenous communities.”

In addition to these languages, Motorola also recently introduced a new logo dedicated to the indigenous  languages’ digitization initiative. The new logo is meant to make support of these languages more  recognizable on the devices and raise awareness towards the cause.  

Ms. Janine Oliveira, Executive Director of Globalization Software, Motorola Mobility, said, “With each  phase of our endangered indigenous languages project, our goal is to help bridge the gap in digitally  inclusive technology and inspire more actions towards the revitalization of these languages. The addition  of Kangri and Kuvi to our growing list of supported languages is a milestone we’re excited to celebrate,  but our work doesn’t stop here.”

Pratima Harite, Head CSR & Philanthropy, Lenovo Asia Pacific, said, “The digitalization of endangered  indigenous languages is not just a mission to serve the underserved, it is a crucial aspect of Lenovo’s vision for Smarter Technology for All. As a global technology leader, Lenovo Foundation is dedicated to ensuring  that diverse indigenous communities are an integral part of our digital journey, and this project lies close  to our hearts.”  

Moving forward, Motorola will continue to conduct research alongside indigenous communities and  engage with regional teams to enrich the brands’ experiences and the lives of its incredible consumers. 

Legal disclaimers 

Certain features, functionality and product specifications may be network dependent and subject to  additional terms, conditions, and charges. All are subject to change without notice. MOTOROLA, Stylized  M Logo, MOTO and the MOTO family of marks are trademarks of Motorola Trademark Holdings, LLC.  LENOVO is a trademark of Lenovo. Google and Android are trademarks of Google LLC. All other trademarks  are the property of their respective owners. © 2023 Motorola Mobility LLC. All rights reserved. 

*The new languages are available on the new moto e13. Going forward, every Motorola smartphone  upgraded to Android 13 will have Kangri language and Kuvi keyboard support as well. 

MOTOROLA, the Stylized M Logo, MOTO and the MOTO family of marks are trademarks of Motorola Trademark  Holdings, LLC. Android is a trademark of Google, LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective  owners. ©2023 Motorola Mobility LLC.


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