(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘language loss

No habla Tamahaq…

The Rosetta Disk

Further to “How Quickly We Forget…” and the all-too-real dangers of data loss through the withering of the systems, the “lexicons,” and the people needed to translate and understand that data…

It’s estimated that fifty to ninety percent of the world’s languages will disappear in the next century, many with little or no significant documentation…  so much for the utility of any news archives in those tongues, or for access to their cultural heritage via their fiction or drama.

Into the breach, The Long Now Foundation and its Rosetta Project.  A National Science Digital Library collection, the Rosetta Archive now serves nearly 100,000 pages of material documenting over 2,500 languages—the largest resource of its kind on the Net.

…another reason (as if one needed another reason) to love librarians.

(Interested readers can see/hear a Long Now Seminar talk by linguist Daniel Everett, recounting his experiences with the Piraha in the Amazon (an experience that has revolutionized linguistics) at the Long Now site.  Concerned readers can join your correspondent in supporting The Foundation for Endangered Languages.)

As we sharpen our sibilants, let us spare a grateful thought for Louis and Auguste Lumiere, who unveiled their “cinematograph” publicly (albeit, in a private screening) for the first time on this date in 1895.  The French brothers had patented the combination movie camera-projector the month before, and went on to demonstrate it with the first film newsreels– and with what most consider the world’s first movie, “Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory.”

Auguste and Louis Lumiere

Written by (Roughly) Daily

March 22, 2009 at 1:01 am

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