Language museum in london

According to Reuters, plans are afoot to establish a language museum in London, which is apparently the most multilingual city in the world with over 350 languages spoken. The idea is the get the museum up and running to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics.

The museum would aim to get people more interested in languages – both their own and foreign ones – using serious scholarship and high-tech gadgets such as a machine that shows you what happens in your brain while you’re speaking.

A similar museum – the National Museum of Language is due to open in College Park, Maryland in the USA later this year. Another – Linguamón – Casa de les Llengües (House of Languages) – is planned for Barcelona.

This entry was posted in Language.

0 Responses to Language museum in london

  1. Aaron says:

    That is fantastic… I study linguistics at College Park, & I hadn’t heard about the museum. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Cakra says:

    That’s great.
    Hope there will be one in Asia.

  3. Joanne says:

    Wow! Another great reason to visit London!

    And I’m very excited about the Maryland museum as well. I’m definitely planning a trip this year!

  4. Joe DeRose says:

    There’s also a Museum of the Alphabet in Waxhaw, North Carolina (a small town that few people from more than 100 km away have ever herad of), near Charlotte (which is recognizable in the U.S., but probably not elsewhere).

    I am dubious about it because (1) it doesn’t look like much on the website and (2) the use of the word “alphabet” in the title suggests a naïve understanding of the complexity of writing styles. But a friend of mine who is well-traveled, well-educated, and difficult to impress found it quite enjoyable and has been trying to talk me into going there.

    — Joe / Atlanta / USA

  5. This is truly great news. I work as a translator in an international organisation and spend most of the day surrounded with the sounds of over a dozen tongues, yet despite living in a small trilingual country, out in the street I often feel that we are not all that conscious of the incredibly broad variety of languages spoken across the globe, nor, quite unfortunately, of the danger posed to a large proportion of them… When you compare to the legal regimes of India, Indonesia or Australia, you may find that the EU is not so great a pioneer of multilingualism as it could seem. But how far can a supranational entity take action, in the face of powerful private companies seeking ever greater homogenisation, and the romantic pride of nation states looking in a similar direction?

  6. Simon,

    Your news story dates from 2007 and unfortunately it looks like nothing is going to happen on this front for London, despite the good efforts of David Crystal and others. The Endangered Languages Project at the School of Oriental and African Languages was involved in the discussions Reuthers reported on.

    Linguamón – Casa de les Llengües is going ahead rapidly — the Catalan government set aside land for the project in 2006 and a design for the buildings was established in 2007 with building works this year. David Crystal and I are on the international scientific committee.

    The University of Iceland is also working on a proposal to establish a World Language Centre. They held a workshop on the topic in Reykjavik last year.

    There are also plans for an International Language Museum in Denmark, according to this report.

  7. I understand there’s also a Museum (and monument!) to the Afrikaans langauge in Paarl which sounds like an excellent idea as Afrikaans is a much more interesting and multi-ethnic language than most people believe it to be.

    There should be a musuem to the Welsh language in Wales … though they’d need to careful how to sell that as opponents of Welsh tend to refer to it as a ‘dead language’ which should be in a museum! 😉

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