Google project aims to document endangered languages

About half of the worlds languages are at risk of disappearing

Google has cooperated with universities and linguistic organizations to begin documenting approximately 3,500 languages that are at risk of disappearing in the next 100 years, the company said on Thursday.

The development of the initiative, called the Endangered Languages Project, was overseen by Google and uses technology including Google Maps, YouTube and Google Groups to enable people to collaborate on recording, accessing and sharing samples of endangered languages.

Twenty-nine organizations including the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and CBC Radio collaborated on the project and the information about the languages was provided by the Eastern Michigan University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The world today has approximately 7,000 languages and about half of them could disappear within a century, according to the project website. With every language that dies, humanity is in danger of losing an enormous cultural heritage, the site stresses. When a language vanishes, an understanding how humans relate to the world around them, scientific, medical and botanical knowledge as well as the expression of communities' humor, love and life could be lost, according to the project.

Through the new website users can find 3,054 endangered languages like Poitevin, spoken only by "a few elderly people" that live in the center of France or Koro, an endangered language spoken by about 1,000 people in India. While all the languages are mapped, not every language has an audio, video or text sample yet. Users are invited to upload samples of the uncovered languages.

There are four endangered language categories: at risk, endangered, severely endangered and vitality unknown.

The project will in the near future be led by "true experts in the field of language preservation," according to the site. The oversight of the project will soon be handed off to the First Peoples' Cultural Council and The Institute for Language Information and Technology at Eastern Michigan University.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?