Linguasphere Observatory

Linguasphere Observatory

The Linguasphere Observatory (Observatoire Linguistique) is a language research network. It was created in France in 1983 and is currently based in Wales. They have devised an innovative scheme of philological classification, which includes a hierarchy of relationships based partly on percentages of lexical similarity between language's core vocabularies, and also an unusual system that zigzags between genetic and geographic categories (which they call "phylozones" and "geozones", respectively; see Linguasphere language code for more details). They also promote multilingualism.

In 1999, the Linguasphere published the Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages and Speech Communities, the second edition of which is due out in 2006. Up until December 2005, the Linguasphere's director, David Dalby, has been actively involved in a linguistic concatenation project with the British Standards Institute (BSI). This project aims to provide alpha-4 code classification for every language in the world and thus standardise language coding in computer systems.

Since 2006, Linguasphere has been involved with UNESCO and MAAYA, a worldwide network of linguists, in investigating the multi-lingual facets of the Internet, and studying how to promote an online presence for minor languages as well as using the Web as a means of protecting endangered languages.

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