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The Babel Prize



The purpose of the Babel Prize is to allow humanity to fulfill the opportunity given it in the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. Humanity will be brought closer to its ultimate potential when every child is given an opportunity to effectively learn other languages, regardless of sex, social caste, nationality, religion or financial circumstances. The spirit of this prize is to foster a single, globally-shared experience for children to learn other languages, and to seed a curiosity of the cultures which gave birth to those languages.


The prize will be awarded to those who create and cause to exist a web-based application accessible to the Internet-exposed generations of children throughout the world.

1) The system must be web-based and run on Firefox.

2) The system must work with the hardware and software adopted by the "One Laptop per Child" (OLPC) association.

3) The system must be freely accessible, with no limit as to the number of accesses or duration of access given, to any child under the age of sixteen. The prize winner must continue to follow through in the spirit of the prize and continue to provide free access to children after the awarding of this prize.

4) The system must interact with children between the ages of eight and sixteen in an intuitive manner similar to how they learn their native language. (I think the latest version of the RosettaStone language software is an excellent example of how it should be done.)

5) The system must utilize pictures, videos, and audio of native speakers, all of which would come from a region where the language is primarily spoken. The pictures and video should mirror the modern culture of the language. For example: a picture of a cup of coffee in English should present a western location (like Starbucks) or a cultural setting (like morning coffee & newspaper at breakfast). The picture of a cup of coffee in Arabic should present an equivalent image taken from an Arab cultural setting.

6) The system must contain lesson plans for at least eight modern languages. The following languages must be offered: Arabic (MSA), English, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish. Each lesson plan should be thorough enough to eventually allow the child to speak with the same ability of an average 10 year old native speaker (ie. what vocabulary is taught in school until that age).

7) All multimedia assets used by the language lessons, whether created before or after the prize is awarded, must be licensed using a license no more restrictive than the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license; allowing free non-commercial use and creation of derivative works as explained at:

  • See Requirements Intellectual Property Rights

To contribute to this prize, click here to register or login.

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Prize Information

Prize ID Number: ZV9XLAMHR Prize Author: nbenik Prize Organizer: nbenik Number of Contributors: 1 Date Started: December 14, 2007

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