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LL - MAP: Language and Location - A Map Annotation Project

LL-MAP is a project designed to integrate language information with data from the physical and social sciences by means of a Geographical Information System (GIS). The most important part of the project is a language subsystem, which relates geographical information on the area in which a language is or has been spoken to data on resources relevant to the language. Through a link to the Multi-Tree project, information on all proposed genetic relationships of the languages is made available and viewable in a geographic context. The system walso includes ancillary information on topography, political boundaries, demographics, climate, vegetation, and wildlife, thus providing a basis upon which to build hypotheses about language movement across territory. Some cultural information, e.g., on religion, ethnicity, and economics, is also included.

The LL-MAP system encourages collaboration between linguists, historians, archaeologists, ethnographers, and geneticists, as they explore the relationship between language and cultural adaptation and change. We hope it will elicit new insights and hypotheses, and that it will also serve as an educational resource. As a GIS, LL-MAP has the potential to be a captivating instructional tool, presenting complex data in a way accessible to all educational levels. Finally, as a free service available online, LL-MAP increases public knowledge of lesser-known languages and cultures, underlining the importance of language and linguistic diversity to cultural understanding and scientific inquiry.

LL-MAP is a joint project of Eastern Michigan University and Stockholm University, in collaboration with several projects and archives in the USA, Europe, and Australia. Collaborators include PARADISEC, The Alaska Native Language Center, The Tibetan-Himalayan Digital Library, and The WALS Project, as well as noted documentary linguists. Technical development is directed by The Institute for Geospatial Research and Education (IGRE) at Eastern Michigan U. The project was funded by a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

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