Can technology help save our endangered languages?
We can now record the world’s languages at an unprecedented rate, precisely at the moment they are most threatened. What does the future hold for language in the age of digital tech? Join the conversation with Laura Welcher (The Long Now Foundation), Nick Thieberger (PARADISEC) and Paul Paton (First Languages Australia) to find out.
US linguist Dr Laura Welcher is an international guest of Melbourne Knowledge Week. In this Monday lunchtime event, Laura will discuss the groundbreaking work of the Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project and PanLex, which aims to translate every human word, in every language, into every other language.
Dr Welcher will also deliver the festival keynote lecture on Friday 11 May.
Laura Welcher is Director of The Long Now Foundation and 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.
Associate Professor Nick Thieberger is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He helped establish and is currently Director of the Pacific and Regional Archive of Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC). He has worked with speakers of indigenous Australian languages since the early 1980s.
Paul Paton is an Aboriginal man from the Gunnai and Monaro tribes of south eastern Australia. He is a board member of First Languages Australia and a former Executive Officer of the Victorian Aboriginal Languages Corporation (VACL). Paul is currently Manager of the Aboriginal Partnerships and Engagement Support Unit at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.