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Author Archive

Endangered languages, endangered documentation

by Tex Pasley on August 4th, 02009

A recent article in the New York Times describes the endangered language research of Tucker Childs, a linguist at Portland State University, who is in Sierra Leone studying the nearly extinct Kim language.  The death of the Kim language is attributed to the decision of younger speakers to learn the Mende language, spoken by 1. . .   Read More

Putting the World’s Languages on the Map

by Tex Pasley on July 23rd, 02009

Estimates of the number of the world’s languages are hard to nail down precisely.  Our best estimate comes from the current edition of the Ethnologue, which puts the number at 6,909…  6,909 languages. For a challenge, try naming a hundred.  Fifty.  Ten?  The notion of living in a world with almost 7. . .   Read More

Ese… Esselen… Esperanto!

by Tex Pasley on July 15th, 02009

Over at The Rosetta Project, we have been busy uploading new materials to our collection at the Internet Archive (which you can also follow by RSS feed). This week, we uploaded this grammar of Esperanto — a language invented by a single man, now used as a means of regular communication by thousands, if not millions. . .   Read More

Death of tribal elder brings California language closer to extinction

by Tex Pasley on July 14th, 02009

With the passing of Cahuilla elder Alvino Siva on June 26, the language of the Cahuilla of Southern California moved one step closer to being lost forever.   Silva was one of just a handful of fluent Cahuilla speakers left.  A 1994 estimate placed the total number of speakers between 7 and 20, all elderly.  Cahuilla. . .   Read More

Monkeys to replace human linguists!

by Tex Pasley on July 9th, 02009

This recent study has found that monkeys are able to discern the prefixes and suffixes of human language.  These word parts are essential to the grammars of many languages — including English, where verbs are changed by the addition of suffixes to mark things like tense, aspect, person and number (hear-d, hear-s, hear-ing. . .   Read More

4th century Bible goes digital

by Tex Pasley on July 6th, 02009

The Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest extant copy of the Bible, has been digitized by the Codex Sinaiticus Project, and can now be viewed online here. The manuscript contains the entire New Testament, and most of the Old Testament, all in Greek (the original language of the New Testament). The physical manuscript is divided unequally among. . .   Read More