Platforms and resources with audio recordings in Belarusian

Although the Belarusian language is threatened with extinction, there is still hope that it can be saved. The future of the Belarusian language and its chances of survival depend on a variety of factors. At some point in the next few years, the Lukashenko regime may collapse after decades of corruption and repression, and Belarus may finally become an independent country, as Ukraine was in 1990. Then it is likely that the first democratically elected government of Belarus will introduce legislation to promote and restore the Belarusian language.

Once Belarus is truly independent from Russia, many Belarusians will remember that their ancestors’ native language was Belarusian, not Russian, and they will want to have access to online resources with audio recordings of modern, authentically spoken Belarusian. This is exactly where our project comes in. Our goal is to compile the largest collection of audio clips in Belarusian. Currently, there are the following platforms with Belarusian audio clips:

  1. Voice by Mozilla Foundation

A large collection with a variety of sample sentences recorded and evaluated by thousands of native Belarusian speakers. The main goal of the Voice project is not to create voice recordings for humans, but for machines. The Mozilla Foundation wants to create the world’s largest database of voice recordings to train and improve the algorithms and performance of AI voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Assist, Siri, etc.

  1. Forvo Belarusian

On Forvo you can find more than 20,000 audio files, most of which consist of pronunciations of individual words by hundreds of native Belarusian speakers. The biggest drawback of the Forvo database is that it contains almost exclusively pronunciations of single words that are not connected, which makes the platform not very useful. Words always appear next to each other, single words without context do not have much practical value.