The App That Changes Everything?

The App That Changes Everything?

It seems like every few weeks now we hear about some exciting new innovation in computer technology—a brand-new application that (at least according to the advertising hype) will upend life as we know it. For the deaf and hearing-impaired of the world, the Live Transcribe app Google rolled out in limited beta on Monday, February the 4th, certainly seems to be just such an earth-shaking new tool.

But is it really…?

Read More

Now THAT'S a library!

Now THAT'S a library!

The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is easily the largest library in the entire world. It has over 167 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. If you walked for ten hours a day, it’d take you a month to walk past all those bookshelves. Pick even one category—say, comic books—and it would be impossible to read through the Library of Congress’s entire catalog in one lifetime (they have 120,000 comic books, and growing).

The Library of Congress is clearly a superlative institution, so when they choose to honor an organization at their yearly Literacy Awards, it’s a sign that that organization has made a significant impact in the quest to wipe out global illiteracy…

Read More

2019: The International Year of Indigenous Languages

2019: The International Year of Indigenous Languages

Did you know that more than half of the world’s population speaks a total of only twenty three languages?

That, coupled with modern technology, means global communication has never been easier. It also means, unfortunately, that those extra-popular languages can turn into something of a cultural tsunami, threatening to drown out the more than seven thousand other languages that are spoken in the world today…

Read More

When Literacy Saves Lives

When Literacy Saves Lives

As a specialized area of study, linguistics pretty much never makes global news. But there are times when events that take on global importance have a vital linguistic element to them. Such is the case with the recent tragic death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal when she was being held in U.S. custody at the border last month.

On a radio segment of FRESH AIR, hosted on NPR by Terry Gross, linguist Geoff Nunberg helped Gross to understand the communication breakdowns that sometimes happen at the border…

Read More

Hope for 2019

Hope for 2019

The calendar we use is imperfectly matched to the solar year, so there’s a sense in which New Year’s Day is only an illusion—just another day among many, invested with imaginary importance by a system invented at the behest of a sixteenth century Pope trying to get Easter to fall a little closer to the spring equinox.

“Imperfect,” however, is not the same as hopelessly flawed. As annoying as the Gregorian calendar can be for those of us with the misfortune to be born on a leap day, it generally does its job of helping us plan vacations, birthday parties, and—in our case—objectives and resolutions for the New Year…

Read More

Why Do We Do What We Do?

Why Do We Do What We Do?

The Christmas story we are used to is sanitized. The reality was far more complicated—and is still relevant in light of the world we live in today. As we think back on that reality, we remember that Jesus himself was from a peasant family living in a country under the domination of a foreign power. He was the target of a ruthless and violent tyrant and escaped with his life only because his parents fled to Egypt. There they lived as refugees and migrants, waiting for a time to go back home. Later, after growing up in his homeland, Jesus was ultimately killed by yet another oppressive regime.

It is our belief in Jesus that is at the heart of why we do what we do...

Read More

Let’s Help Language Communities Realize Their Dreams

Let’s Help Language Communities Realize Their Dreams

For the past several months, SIL LEAD has been listening to the creative ideas and dreams of community-based organizations in marginalized and economically disadvantaged areas of world. These organizations are taking the initiative to pursue their dreams of building a better future for their children by maintaining a connection to their past through their cultures and their languages. We believe that dreams can come true in any language and have selected five proposals to fund from around the world.

We need your help this #GivingTuesday to fully support these initiatives…

Read More