Computer Program Brings Back Dead Languages
Related Videos
Popular
Most Recent
Most Viewed

Description


Language and computer experts from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada have developed a computer algorithm that can be used to build an understanding of dead languages.

Transcript


Computer algorithms could bring back dead languages. Language and computer experts from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada have developed a computer algorithm that can be used to build an understanding of dead languages. Using words from a current language, the system can determine how phonetic changes evolved over time.. The algorithm was applied to thousands of words across the Austronesian family of languages that include Fijian, Hawaiian and Tongan. The system displayed incredible accuracy, with more than 85 percent of the words being matched to within one character of the actual word. The new system might be able to improve computer translations of similar languages like French and Portuguese. Figuring out how ancient languages have changed over the course of history can help us better understand our ancient past. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, an estimated half of the more than 6 thousand languages that are spoken around the world will be extinct in the next hundred years. Along with the loss of languages, significant cultural traditions, and indigenous knowledge are also being threatened. What do you think? Is it important to preserve ancient or extinct languages?