Language is an art and many would say a dying art. Scientists estimate that at least 3,000 of the 6,900 languages currently spoken around the world will be lost by the end of this century. This interesting information came to us from Quartz in their article, “Anyone can contribute to this dictionary of the world’s dying languages.”
There are many academic efforts to reverse this from happening. Those include National Geographic’s Enduring Voices Project and the National Science Foundation-backed Rosetta Project, any many more. Unfortunately most of those are at a grassroots level.
The volunteer organization Wikitongues is creating a crowd-sourced dictionary app where native speakers will be able to preserve their languages simply by recording words, phrases, and videos on their phones.
The Wikitongues project began as a school project in 2012 where a couple of students started recording videos of the many languages spoken in New York City, and posting them to YouTube. After graduation, the founding students set up a website and began archiving languages full time. Today, the website is run by over 100 volunteers, of which about 20 are active each month. Their goal is put that tool in the hands of the last speakers of the world’s dying languages.
Melody K. Smith
Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.