Re: Tongues untied
> I cannot imagine that linguists do too much "manual" work in this area as there are software tools for almost every intellectual pursuit.
Reconstructing ancient languages requires linguists to compare vocabulary items (including related words, homonyms etc.) for multiple languages and multiple time periods, so there's actually a huge amount of "manual" effort involved. Also, consider that people tend to specialise in selected languages or language families and might not have the resources to research multiple other languages, so it seems like a natural use for computers. As long as they manage to digitise and properly process all the required data, retrieving the entire historical evolution of more or less any word in any documented language (which you don't even need to be familiar with), presumably with cross-linking and related items, will be a huge aid to dictionary-wielding researchers.
Also, bear in mind that all such reconstruction results are ultimately hypothetical, so the more languages can be referenced, the more plausible the end result. In any case, exciting stuff for the cunning ones.