The Wikipedia Voice Intro Project wants to do for speech what Wikipedia does for information and Wikimedia Commons does for photos and illustrations. Launched late last month, the Voice Intro Project aims to record the voice of anyone who has their own profile on the online encyclopedia.
The collection is growing slowly, getting a flurry of attention after actor Stephen Fry joined on. Here's his brief contribution:
According to the project page the main goal seems simple enough: “So that we know what notable people sound like; and how they pronounce their own names.”
But one could easily see how such a repository, if built out enough, could become a useful tool for linguists and others interested in the diversity of human speech. Or, even, for future researchers looking to study the evolution of accents and other vocal characteristics.