Dictionaries of World’s Endangered Languages

This is a link to an Australian Geographic.com page yesterday, about a National Geographic Society project to compile online talking dictionaries of endangered indigenous languages of the world.  As I have limited knowledge of the field, I am not sure whether the methodology used in this particular project is generally accepted as valuable, or as is stated in the article, whether the information gathered has already been obtained in other studies.  Certainly the project and the information it obtains may lead to publicity and therefore more discussion of what might be done to preserve these languages.  The concern may be that long term immersion in a particular language community and its culture is needed to obtain real knowledge of a language and how it is used.  A list of words, even with corresponding sound files, does not show these important aspects and therefore cannot preserve the language in a complete, meaningful form for the future. However, these efforts certainly seem to be better than nothing, when funding and support is not available for larger scale recording and preservation projects.  The page also has an interesting link to a story about a project providing electronic indigenous language dictionary apps for smartphones and how some indigenous communities used them.

Project creates ark for world’s dying languages

Jane Herbert

This entry was posted in Language Endangerment, Language Maintenance, Language Work. Bookmark the permalink.

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