The thought of languages, like animal species, going extinct and than disappearing forever, is alarming. A Chronicle of Higher Education article about a session on endangered languages at a recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science notes that, despite these new online technologies and efforts, discussion about endangered languages was “sorrowful at times, with some researchers describing having to watch languages, and the culture stored in them, fade out.”
Many thousands of languages have been lost to time, like that of the ancient Minoans (who lived from about 3500 – 1000 B.C.E.); all that we know of their language is from tablets written in Linear A, a writing system that has yet to be deciphered. Let us hope that the efforts of Noori, Harrison and others can make the most of the latest technologies to keep endangered languages alive.
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