National Geographic Brings Endangered Languages into the Digital Age

Did you know that NG has a project about endangered languages? I didn’t know until yesterday. NG collects data from even the languages that are spoken by as few as 600 people. With this project, they create an audio-visual dictionary, picturing the cultures in details. Here is a very informative article by , explaining the extinct of the languages and examining this extinction in scientific terms.

With nearly 80 percent of the world’s population speaking a mere 1 percent of its languages, National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project is trying to slow down the rate at which languages are disappearing. We’re more than used to hearing about species going extinct, but we don’t often look at languages with the same perspective. Threatened by cultural change, government repression, and more, the reality is, however, that every 14 days a language dies, and at that rate, 100 years from now, more than half of the 7,000 existing languages will have disappeared.

As part of the process, National Geographic has launched 8 new talking dictionaries containing more than 32,000 entries and 24,000 audio recordings. Not only do the dictionaries give insight into the languages spoken, they also shed light on the cultures formed around them, with photographs of cultural objects.

Some of the languages National Geographic is documenting have as few as 600 speakers. The 600 speakers of Matukar Panau, for example, live in 2 small villages in Papau New Guinea, and have never had their language documented, let alone even seen the Internet. Just over 3,000 words and audio files, along with 67 pictures, have now been added to the dictionary, and both computers and Internet have reached the remote village.


For the whole article, click here.

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One response to this post.

  1. Did you know Italian dialects were languages when Italy did not exist yet as an united country?

    Did you know thje power and the common people spoke different languages?

    The losing of the dialects-languages will be a great lost for the human langiages societies involving local traditions and way of expression and words.

    May be I can offer you my contribute(send explaination about the compensation,if are interested ) ,I will exam ithem before to say if I am interested or not.

    I am sending you o be studied and considered my web site of contemporary poems and other issues

    as well as my blog:
    Progressi In Psichiatria Psychiatric Progress

    Best regards.
    Vladimiro Rinaldi(Rinaldi Ranuzzi)


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