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Endangered Voices

February 23, 2012

Digital technology and social media are helping save endangered languages.



Endangered languages go digital…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Koro Song)

Humans currently speak about 7,000 languages across the globe. But about half of those are in danger of going extinct. But digital technologies could help, according to Swarthmore College linguist David Harrison, who leads National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project.

DAVID HARRISON (Swarthmore College):

My job as a linguist is to document some of the world’s most endangered languages and to work with the communities to ensure the survival of those languages. One of the ways to do that is to help build digital tools to build a presence on the internet for these languages.


This could mean anything from talking dictionaries to social media.

DAVID HARRISON (Swarthmore College):

Savvy communities see technology as an opportunity.


I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

(Arunachal hiphop singing out)