One of the major topics covered in this trimesters work, is that of language Endangerment and Extinction.
David Harrison has been doing major work to document and catalog endangered languages and notes Australia as being a hot spot for these languages.
While, as David says, we cannot save every language, it is just as important to educate people on what is lost when we lose a language. I don’t think many people understand the consequences of a lost language, we lose their knowledge, a major piece of culture and history that can never be reclaimed. Imagine if tomorrow, English died out; can you conceive that? If we had no texts documenting our way our way of life? it would be as if we never existed, our beliefs and morals would become a mysterious piece of history.
Sadly, this is happening to too many cultures around the world.
check out enduring voices at http://www.livingtongues.org/ where you can read more on endangered languages. They started work in Australia in 07
the National Geographic page on endangered language is http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/