Computer used to bring back ancient languages from brink of extinction
Languages in theory could be reconstructed by feeding modern successors into computer programs
Many of the world's most ancient languages are in danger of dying off, closing a door on an irreplaceable place in human history and development. Languages die off after they have been processed by more modern interpretations of speech. Now, linguistic experts say that these languages can be retried with the aid of computers.
Researchers reconstructed a set of languages from a database of more than 142,000 words that form 637 Austronesian languages, many of which are spoken in Southeast Asia, the Pacific and regions in Asia.
Canadian scientist Alexandre Bouchard-Cote now suspects that advanced computer programs could be used to recreate dead languages. His research team at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver along with co-workers at the University of California Berkeley theorizes that the world's dead languages could be reconstructed by feeding modern successors into computer programs configured to build extinct languages, word-by-word.
According to Bouchard-Cote, a machine-learning algorithm could identify changes before they actually occur, a technological advancement that could be reversed-engineered to recreate dead languages.
For example, researchers speak of the well-known Canadian language shift, where many Canadians now say "aboot" instead of "about."
Researchers reconstructed a set of languages from a database of more than 142,000 words that form 637 Austronesian languages, many of which are spoken in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and regions in Asia. The program was successful in being able to accurately suggest how certain languages sounded as well as identify which sounds were most likely to change.
The program could provide scientists around the world with potent tool for staving off the extinction of a number of languages, many of which are already on the decline. Scientists previously had to depend on deciphering lost languages by hand, relying on bits of parchment and other historical artifacts.
The new language program is widely seen as a major advancement for language technologies in general, compelling example of how big data and machine learning are beginning to make a significant impact on all facets of knowledge.
It must be noted that this is not the first time the idea of using computers to halt the decline of languages has come about. Google announced last year its intention to collaborate with scholars, researchers, and language communities through an initiative called the Endangered Languages Project. Through the project, people can learn about the Earth's endangered languages follow the documentation being created to preserve them.
© 2013, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- Mysterious object blurs the distinction between planets and stars
- Hubble discovery puts us closer than ever to finding alien life - water discovered on 5 planets
- Through the air: The sound of computer keystroke can now be used for spying purposes
- Israeli scientists discover substance that may fend off Alzheimer's, Aging and Parkinson's
- Don't cry for Comet ISON, another stupendous sky show is coming!
- FANTASTIC! Mile-long floating city would house 50,000 permanent residents
- COMET ISON BREAKS UP!
- Where you can watch the death of Comet ISON live as it happens
- Astronomers observe the biggest, and scariest event in the universe since the beginning of time
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?