Recent findings from the World Wide Word…

I’ve come across a number of interesting resources of late that emphasize the web as both saviour & propagator of language(s).

Using the Web as Warehouse: Project Gutenberg: A wiki-style database of free e-books. You won’t find the latest best sellers here. The site is populated with copyright-free works. There’s also 50+ languages represented and an RSS feed to receive newly uploaded contributions.

Using The Web as Map: Visual Thesaurus: An interactive dictionary and thesaurus that uses word maps and other visual representations to not only provide meanings, etc but also to promote knowledge of the linkages between words. It’s a fee-based service and I need to do more research to know if it’s really worth it. Cool idea though.

How the Web Makes Words: I also like this piece from Jack Kapica talking about "Weblish" – or the lexicon that the web has given us – things like blog, podcast, avatar, webinar, wiki, and so on. 

How the Web Saves Words: Though I can’t find the links for the life of me, I’ve also seen reported resources that are being developed to house dying (or dead) languages such as Welsh, Irish, and various African/Asian languages. But to prove the point, a search on Hieroglyphics yields over 1.5 million results and there are over 44 million results for learn Latin.

Of course, this definition of "the web" includes software and technology that powers these applications. But in this broad definition, the web is the platform we are increasingly using for having & storing our conversations. It’s also the toolkit we are using to invent new forms of conversation and new lexicons, reviving old ones, and verifying the ones we have every day.

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