Digital tools ‘to save languages’
BBC, 18 February 2012

VANCOUVER, CANADA: Of the 7,000 or so languages spoken on Earth today, about half are expected to be extinct by the century’s end. Globalization is usually blamed, but some elements of the “modern world”, especially digital technology, are pushing back against the tide. North American tribes use social media to re-engage their young, for example. Tuvan, an indigenous tongue spoken by nomadic peoples in Siberia and Mongolia, even has an iPhone app to teach the pronunciation of words to new students. “Small languages are using social media, YouTube, text messaging and various technologies to expand their voice and expand their presence,” said K David Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College and a National Geographic Fellow. Read the article …