Language is not only a means of communication but also a kind of knowledge. The literature, folk tales, and even the vocabulary of a language talk a lot about the culture, tradition, civilization, thoughts, discoveries and inventions of a particular linguistic community. Due to migration of a community to another place where their mother tongue is not spoken or due to less importance given to one’s mother tongue it loses its usage and become extinct over the period of time. If the endangered language is not in written form then there will be no trace of it after extinction. It is estimated that 473 out of 6,909 living languages are at the verge of extinction. Linguists predict that we may lose at least 90% of the world’s linguistic diversity within the next century. There is a growing concern about this issue and efforts are being taken to address this issue. Documentation is the effective way to preserve the endangered languages.
The Rosetta Project is an attempt by The Long Now Foundation’s to preserve endangered languages by archiving. The name of the project is derived from the Rosetta Stone, an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. This parallel text was very useful in understanding the ancient Egyptian language. In the same line of thought the Rosetta Project also aims to collect and archive the parallel text.
Rosetta Disk is a three inch diameter nickel dist containing 14000 pages of information. The pages in image form are etched onto the disk surface and it is possible to read them using 500 power optical magnification. The disk can last for thousands of years. The disk holds parallel information in more than 1000 natural languages.
Rosetta Digital Language Archive
The Rosetta Project also has an Internet archive known as Rosetta Digital Language Archive. It has 100,000 pages of documents, as well as language recordings, for over 2,500 languages so far.