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How to Save Dying Languages

by Katie Leo 

Tags: Sci Tech, Discoveries, endangered languages, linguistic research, PBS, Seed,

With 40 percent of the world’s 7,000 languages in danger of extinction, the recording of endangered languages is becoming ever more important to linguistic research.  Anthony Kaufman previews for Seed the documentary The Linguists, which examines the global issue of language endangerment and loss.  This PBS documentary features researchers K. David Harrison and Greg Anderson of the nonprofit Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, who are on a mission to locate speakers of rare languages and record them.  Harrison and Anderson are amassing an online dictionary of remote languages, which includes sound files of native speakers.  Interestingly, Anderson also cites technology like Youtube, text messaging, and chat rooms as increasingly popular ways for communities to share and thereby preserve endangered languages.

Sources: Seed, PBS, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages