An Alliance for Linguistic Diversity
I have written before about the importance of language preservation. When a language dies, we lose so much more than vocabulary; each language represents a distinct vision of the world and carries with it important scientific, cultural, and historic knowledge. According to the latest data, there are over 7000 languages spoken in the world but almost half of them are at risk of extinction. In Canada, for example, there are over 60 aboriginal languages spoken, but just over 200,000 people reported speaking one of these languages regularly at home. In my province of British Columbia, there are over 30 different aboriginal languages spoken but some of these have just a handful of fluent speakers (some have only one or two). This is why initiatives like The Endangered Languages Project are so important.
What is it?
The Endangered Languages Project is a space for organizations and individuals working on language preservation and revitalization to find and share up to date information, projects, and best practices for endangered languages education and innovation. Teachers, academics, non-profits, and anyone else working on language projects can share their ideas, texts, audio, and video and collaborate with others on similar projects. This video explains more:
Who is it for?
The project is a collaboration between organizations from all over the world that form the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity, and is aimed at speakers and learners of endangered languages, as well as others passionate about their preservation. For many of these languages, there are very limited resources for learning and preserving them, so the Endangered Languages Project is a space for learners, teachers, academics, and others passionate about these languages to share, find, and spread great ideas.
Why we love it
The Endangered Languages Project is an impressive collaboration between many organizations. It includes resources for learning languages (a few of which I would love to learn one day!), as well as videos, audio, infographics, academic papers, and much more fascinating information on languages from all over the world. My favourite part might be the Language Map (accessed through the homepage), an interactive map that allows you to click on each of the thousands of languages spoken around the world to learn more about them. I really appreciate that the Endangered Languages Project is trying to bring together many important initiatives and providing a space for people who might otherwise feel isolated in their efforts.