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Languages don't die — people just give up on them


Crowd-funding language and culture documentation before it's too late. The Language Documentation Crowd is a collaboration of professional linguists and concerned global citizens dedicated to preserving endangered languages through crowd-funding language and culture documentation projects.

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Languages don't die — people just give up on them


Crowd-funding language and culture documentation before it's too late. The Language Documentation Crowd is a collaboration of professional linguists and concerned global citizens dedicated to preserving endangered languages through crowd-funding language and culture documentation projects.

Crowd-funding language and culture documentation before it's too late


 
Donate
 

Click here to listen to The Language Documentation Crowd on Soundcloud while you browse.


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At least 50% of the world's languages will become extinct by the end of this century.


Since Michael Krauss' 1992 article "The world's languages in crisis," professional linguists have reiterated countless times that between 50% and 90% of the languages currently spoken in the world will become extinct over the course of the century. Languages die for any number of complex reasons. The goal of this site is to ensure that neglect is not one of them. 

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At least 50% of the world's languages will become extinct by the end of this century.


Since Michael Krauss' 1992 article "The world's languages in crisis," professional linguists have reiterated countless times that between 50% and 90% of the languages currently spoken in the world will become extinct over the course of the century. Languages die for any number of complex reasons. The goal of this site is to ensure that neglect is not one of them. 

         That equates to between 3,000 and 3,500 languages total. And that's just the lower limit. Some linguists believe the upper limit could be as high as 90%. 

            We should all be concerned by these sobering numbers because languages encode vast amounts of information pertaining to the environment, the history of interactions between people, and the nature of human thought. Languages also often hold the key to groups' self-identification and self-esteem. Negative attitudes toward language often erode individuals' senses of self-worth and value. Preserving and revitalizing languages helps to empower the people who speak them and enrich their lives.

Finally, diversity of culture and language contribute to make the world a more beautiful and interesting place.       

          Numerous lists of documented last speakers of endangered languages can be found online. The current edition of the Ethnologue, a comprehensive catalog of information and statistics about the languages of the world, lists 134 languages with fewer than 10 native speakers. It's hard to imagine the isolation felt by these last speakers.

           Languages die for any number of different reasons. The goal of this site is to ensure that neglect is not one of them.

        


 

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The process is not irreversible.


The process of language shift, and even language death, are not irreversible. Hebrew, Hawaiian, Maori, and numerous other languages attest to this fact. The goal of language and culture documentation is to create a comprehensive, multifaceted archive of the linguistic and cultural practices of speech communities so that they can be preserved and revitalized.

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The process is not irreversible.


The process of language shift, and even language death, are not irreversible. Hebrew, Hawaiian, Maori, and numerous other languages attest to this fact. The goal of language and culture documentation is to create a comprehensive, multifaceted archive of the linguistic and cultural practices of speech communities so that they can be preserved and revitalized.

          Hebrew, Maori, Welsh, Hawaiian...The list of languages that have undergone or are undergoing revitalization is long. Quality documentation of these languages and the cultures that use them necessarily forms the backbone of all such efforts at revitalization. And in those sad few cases in which no living descendent of a minority language community retains any interest in recapturing a lost vernacular, good language and culture documentation will be the only way dead voices can speak again and we can know something of the rich linguistic and cultural heritages that have been lost to the living.


 
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Don't give up


You can help to stem the tide of language shift and death, or at the very least to provide an audio-visual record of a vanishing piece of the human puzzle before it's gone forever. Through our efforts together, last speakers don't have to stand alone. Join the crowd. All that's missing is you.

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Don't give up


You can help to stem the tide of language shift and death, or at the very least to provide an audio-visual record of a vanishing piece of the human puzzle before it's gone forever. Through our efforts together, last speakers don't have to stand alone. Join the crowd. All that's missing is you.

            You can help to stem the tide of language shift and death, or at the very least to provide an audio-visual record of a vanishing piece of the human puzzle before it's gone forever. Through our efforts together, last speakers don't have to stand alone.

             Choose today to donate to one of the language and culture documentation projects featured here or simply to contribute to the upkeep and expansion of this site.  Select one of the options below to get involved now or simply explore our site further to discover ways you can help. Join the crowd. All that's missing is you.


 

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