31 October 2007

Crowdsourcing the Language Ark

Samuel Johnson famously wrote an early English dictionary entirely on his own. But a far better approach today would be to write one collaboratively across the Internet, with people offering and refining definitions. And given the global nature of the Net, better make that a multilingual dictionary, too.

That's what LingoZ is trying to do. At the moment, the number of languages covered is relatively small; what I'd like to see is this widened to hundreds and then thousands of languages. As well as a useful resource in terms of translation, it could also play another important role: preserving the hundreds of languages faced with extinction as a kind of virtual ark. I'm not sure that LingoZ has the vision to do that, but somebody should. (Via eHub.)

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