Google Lending a Helping Hand to 3,000 Endangered Languages [Video]

June 23, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Has it ever crossed your mind that languages, like species, face extinction? English, which is generally thought to be the universal language, is safe and sound. But what about thousands of other languages fewer and fewer people talk.

Google has come forward with the idea of preserving these languages, in the form of the Endangered Language Project.

More than 3,000 languages are on the verge of extinction, which is about half the total number of languages in the world. Google is bringing in technology to protect them.

The project is an online collaborative effort to protect global linguistic diversity and is backed by a coalition of scholars, researchers and language communities called the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity.

The disappearance of a language means the loss of valuable scientific and cultural information, comparable to the loss of a species.

According to the Endangered Languages Project, only 50 percent of the languages spoken today will still be around by 2100.

Info about the Earth’s endangered languages and the kind of documentation which is being created to preserve them is available through the project’s website.

You can know more about a variety of languages ranging from Navajo, which is spoken only by  120,000 people in the Southwest US, to Aragonese, which is now spoken by less than 10,000 people on the French border of Spain.

There’s also an interactive map on the website, which shows that nearly every country in the world has lost languages, including 83 in Guatemala, 149 in Myanmar, and 113 in Sudan.

Documenting languages that are on the verge of extinction is an important step in preserving cultural diversity, honoring the knowledge of our elders and empowering our youth.

Kudos to Google.

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