My name is Ben Jones-White. I am 32 years old, give or take, and live in Columbus, Ohio, USA. I can’t say for sure where or when my interest in languages started, but I expect it has a lot to do with the fantasy books I was reading in grade school: Lord Of The Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Redwall and Chronicles of Prydain to name a few. These inspired me to create my own worlds with their own languages in my school notebooks. As I came to know, thanks to my Spanish teacher/principal/substitute shop class teacher, Mr. Arnold, there are even real languages out there (thousands of them, in fact!) to learn and learn about.
I kept up with Spanish all through high school, but thought I might switch over to Italian for my first year of university. After taking an introductory Linguistics class at Ohio State, I pretty much fell in love and immediately switched my major. My focus shifted a bit further back in time, as I studied Latin, Old English and Sanskrit. I was and continue to be fascinated with the threads of humanity that you can trace forwards and backwards through time using language.
My time in college helped me understand more fully the values inherent in preserving language. From a historical perspective, it can help us to understand what and how our distant ancestors spoke (in other words, the more current data we have, the easier it will be to reconstruct what came before). Beyond that, I recognize that a lot of the languages being lost today are as a result of colonialism or forced assimilation. I believe that there is value and beauty in preserving any and every language. Since college, I have studied a bit of Babylonian and Ancient Greek, and am so happy to have discovered Wikitongues to do what I can to help preserve the thousands of languages out there that need help.
Since joining Wikitongues, I’ve been helping to onboard volunteers from North America, focusing in particular on folks within the United States. The opportunity to talk to and help people across the world has been an incredible experience!
Outside of Wikitongues, you can probably find me reading a spy novel or a comic book, listening to a podcast, heading out to a movie or working on a stone sculpture.