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The Rosetta Project – bringing the world’s ~7,000 languages online

There are nearly 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, but the vast majority of them are contracting dramatically in use, rapidly approaching obsolescence and extinction. While computers, mobile devices and the Internet could offer an entirely new domain of language use – infusing these languages with modern vitality and vigor – there are few languages that can be used with ease in this domain today. In this talk, Dr. Laura Welcher will present the work of The Rosetta Project that she directs at The Long Now Foundation, their efforts to build resources and capacity for all human languages, and what it takes to bring these languages online.

Laura Welcher is a linguist with research interests in endangered language documentation, description and revitalization, as well as the growing subdiscipline of computer-assisted linguistics. She received a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, where she learned first hand the importance of creating digital language resources that last in her field research with critically endangered North American languages. Since then she has become involved with various projects in linguistics that are working towards developing standards for the creation and archiving of digital language resources and interoperable tools to support linguistic research.


6:30-7:00 Social time with snacks
7:00-8:30 Presentation and discussion
8:30-9:00 Social time

The Long Now Foundation Museum is in easy walking distance from Muni bus lines 28, 22, and 30, and a slightly longer but beautiful walk from lines 19, 30X, 47, and 49. If you still want to bring a car, parking is available within Fort Mason Center.

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  • Laura W.

    Rating the meetup, not my talk :-) Can't be the judge of my own performance, but thanks all who joined the get-together. Delighted to have you at Long Now.

    July 10, 2012

  • Jonathan P.

    Very good talk and energetic, candid discussion afterwards, with thoughtful and provocative questions and informative answers. The only significant deficit was the turnout: The vast majority of those who had intended to attend weren't there.

    July 10, 2012

  • James W.

    I always learn new stuff when I hear Laura talk! I especially liked the current stats on various language use on the Internet. It's not nearly the English monopoly that I thought.

    July 10, 2012

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