Communities developing resources and competencies for using their languages
Foundational understanding for language development work of all kinds
Publications, fonts and computer tools for language development, translation and research
SIL offers training in disciplines relevant to sustainable language development.
7,105 languages are spoken or signed. CLICK for map of world languages & regional websites.
SIL's dedication to language development past and present
This paper offers some thoughts on the question what effect language has on the understanding and hence behavior of a human being. It reviews some issues of linguistic relativity, known as the “Sapir-Whorf hypothesis,” suggesting that the culture we grow up in is reflected in the language and that our cognition (and our worldview) is shaped or colored by the conventions developed by our ancestors and peers. This raises questions for the degree of translatability, illustrated by the comparison of two poems by a Dutch poet who spent most of his life in the USA. Mutual understanding, I claim, is possible because we have the cognitive apparatus that allows us to enter different emic systems.