Rosetta ProjectIn the last post, I looked at what the Rosetta Stone is and its importance to languages.

This importance is highlighted in The Rosetta Project, named after the Stone –

a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to build a publicly accessible digital library of human languages

This incredible project is working to preserve all languages across the globe, and document them before they are lost. This is no mean feat as linguists predict that as much as 90% of linguistic diversity may be lost in the next century. As the project’s website puts it so eloquently:

Language is both an embodiment of human culture, as well as the primary means of its maintenance and transmission. When languages are lost, the transmission of traditional culture is often abruptly severed meaning the loss of cultural diversity is tightly connected to loss of linguistic diversity.

Almost 2 years ago now, the Eyak language was lost in Alaska with the death of its last remaining speaker, Chief Marie. Around the same time, concerns were being raised about the fate of Wichita, spoken by people in west central Oklahoma. It seems that the Americans have less to be concerned about than the Australians, however – an Ethnologue list reveals a catalogue of indigenous languages that that are nearly extinct.

So, how can you help? Well, perhaps by taking up a language that is close to extinction. Or, you could donate to the Rosetta Project and help them continue to document our diversity.