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Language Landscape: Mapping the Dynamics of Language Diversity

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Ritchie, Sandy 
Ritchie, Graham 
Goodchild, Samantha 

Abstract is a website designed to map language recordings where they were made. Users add audio or video recordings to the map and supply a wide range of linguistic and contextual annotation. The recording is then shown on the map where users can listen to it and browse the associated metadata. We have designed a flexible data schema which supports intelligent querying of the recording database allowing, for example, users to search for all recordings within a language family and then see all recordings on the map. The project has three main goals. The first is to offer speakers of minority and endangered languages an online platform where they can represent their language and culture. We also want to encourage more people to provide and access language data on the website in the hope that this will help raise awareness about language endangerment and related issues. Finally, we want to experiment with an innovative way of mapping languages. We map individual instances of language use according to where they happened. The resulting map is a series of snapshots of people engaging in communication at a certain time and place. We hope that as the project grows our underlying schema will facilitate mining of the data to reveal empirical patterns of global language use.


This presentation was given at the World Oral Literature Project 2012 workshop Charting Vanishing Voices: A Collaborative Workshop to Map Endangered Oral Cultures.


Oral Literature, Oral Tradition, Linguistic Anthropology, Mapping, Diversity

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