The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to build a publicly accessible digital library of human languages. Since becoming a National Science Digital Library collection in 2004, the Rosetta Archive has more than doubled its collection size, now serving nearly 100,000 pages of material documenting over 2,500 languages—the largest resource of its kind on the Net.
A major concern of our project is the drastic and accelerated loss of the world’s languages. Just as globalization threatens human cultural diversity, the languages of small, unique, localized human societies are at serious risk. In fact, linguists predict that we may lose as much as 90% of the world’s linguistic diversity within the next century. Language is both an embodiment of human culture, as well as the primary means of its maintenance and transmission. When languages are lost, the transmission of traditional culture is often abruptly severed meaning the loss of cultural diversity is tightly connected to loss of linguistic diversity. To stem the tide and help reverse this trend, we are working to promote human cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as to make sure that no language vanishes without a trace.