Language, Nuclear Waste and Society : The Preservation of Knowledge over Vast Periods of Time and its Relevance for Linguistics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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. 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.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History


  • Biblical Hebrew, Indo-European, Coptic, Etruscan, historical linguistics, nuclear semiotics, comparative linguistics, Nuclear waste
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-25
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

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