Language, nuclear waste and society

The preservation of knowledge over vast periods of time and its relevance for linguistics

  • Ola Wikander Lunds universitet
Nyckelord: nuclear waste, nuclear semiotics, historical linguistics, comparative linguistics, Etruscan, Coptic, Indo-European, Biblical Hebrew


The article discusses the impact of comparative/historical philology upon the question of nuclear semiotics, i.e. the field of how humanity is to communicate information about nuclear waste storage into the distant future and its (presumably human) inhabitants. It also turns this perspective on its head and discusses possible insights in the other direction – what nuclear semiotics can teach historical linguistics and philology. It is argued that the “nuclear waste question” provides one of the clearest examples of the purely practical importance of human reflection upon the historical development of language and writing.