Tuesday, December 8, 2009
A Priest and a Rabbi walk in to a bar...
Now that's what I call a winning combination! Fifty to ninety percent of the world's languages are predicted to disappear in the next century, many with little or no significant documentation. Much of the work that has been done, especially on smaller languages, remains hidden away in personal research files or poorly preserved in under-funded archives.
As part of the effort to secure this critical legacy of linguistic diversity, the Long Now Foundation is creating a broad online survey and near-permanent physical archive of 1,500 of the approximately 7,000 languages on the planet.
There are three overlapping goals for the project:
* To create an unprecedented platform for comparative linguistic research and education.
* To develop and widely distribute a functional linguistic tool that might help with the recovery of lost or compromised languages in unknown futures.
* To offer an aesthetic object that suggests the immense diversity of human languages as well as the very real threats to the continued survival of this diversity.
The 1,500-language corpus expands on the parallel text structure of the original Rosetta Stone through archiving ten descriptive components for each of the 1,500 selected languages.