lithium | language mission

9 نوفمبر

Linguist on mission to save Inuit ‘fossil language’ disappearing with the ice
commentary by lithium | Rachel Wu, Geoffrey Rees, Caitlyn Simpson, Marlon Brazelton

Inuit seal hunter at work

Stephen Pax Leonard, a Cambridge academic researcher, has decided to travel to Greenland for a year in order to document the dying language of a small Inughuit community. Because of the gradual progression of global warming, the northwestern Inughuit way of life has been continually threatened. In only a few short years (estimated 10-15), the Inughuits will be forced to move further south, where they will assimilate into modern culture whether they wish to or not, and their current way of life will be lost.

Leonard plans to live with the Inughuits in order to learn their language and to compose an “ethnography of speaking”- a record of the Inughuits’ language and culture interactions- rather than a simple dictionary in order to fully express every aspect of the northernmost Inuits’ culture. He hopes to bring more attention to the serious issue of language extinction that is so often underestimated by people in these modern, progressive times.

Stephen Pax Leonard


lithium decided to focus on this article because language is such an important element in our lives. We don’t realize what we really take for granted; languages disappear every day, and we forget that they existed. James Pax Leonard is going against the flow. He’s trying to preserve the language in a vibrant, relatable way. lithium hopes to be able to relate the various operational procedures Leonard is planning to implement to aspects of design and consumerism. If lithium goes forward with this topic, this will be our objective. Leonard is focusing on how a trait affects people; lithium will study how design is formed through some aspect of culture.


cultural progression vs. religious tradition

environmental transformation vs. settled population

small scale perspective vs. modern mass media

taxonomic categories

language-based design; organizational design; preservation design


1 Response to lithium | language mission


Blacki Li Rudi Migliozzi

نوفمبر 12th, 2010 at 9:44 م

Intriguing example! Although I am not approving it because from the get go it is a bit abstract. Furthermore to really do it justice it would take a lot of work. Besides your “Common Sense” topic is very good.

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