Human rights

map of cameroon showing ngong language with 2 speakers

Why do languages die?

If you ask people in the street how many languages they think there are in the world, answers will vary. A joke says that a random sampling of New Yorkers resulted in inspiring answers such as “probably several hundred.” Clearly, this is quite far away from what we know today.  Funny enough, estimates have escalated over time. In 1911, the Encyclopedia Britannica implied a figure somewhere around 1,000 languages around the world at the time. That number escalated during the 20th century. During the course of time, 7,097 distinct languages have been catalogued according to the most extensive catalog of the world’s languages by Ethnologue (published by SIL International), generally accepted to be the authority in the field. Of course the number of languages has not multiplied in 100 years. In fact, languages die. It is our understanding of what a language is and how many languages are actually spoken in areas that previously had not been researched. Although it is hard to […]

Help translation project to protect global internet freedom

The following statement has been written by Ellery Biddle in the Advocacy section of Global Voices. We urge all our readers to share it and understand the serious issue behind Internet governance at stake. If Internet can be controlled in the way it is proposed and its openness constrained, our global rights as netcitizens will be compromised. Below follows Ellery’s call, as it appears in the blog. “Over the next seven days, Global Voices Lingua volunteers will be translating a public online petition that supports the protection of human rights online and urges government members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to preserve Internet openness at the upcoming conference of the ITU. Open for sign-on by any individual or civil society organization, the Protect Global Internet Freedom statement reads as follows: On December 3rd, the world’s governments will meet to update a key treaty of a UN agency called the International […]