“CBC News” spoke with Anthony Aristar, a linguistics professor who co-directs Eastern Michigan University’s Institute for Language Information and Technology. He helped create the Endangered Languages site and gives an example of what can happen because of it:
One person, for example, in Australia produced a series of rock songs in his language, and these became very popular in the aboriginal community that he was involved in and actually encouraged some people to actually start learning the language that they had lost.
The Internet facilitates this kind of collaboration in ways that would never have been possible before the World Wide Web became a public playground. The whole initiative rests on the willingness of indigenous peoples to share their knowledge and on the work of universities, non-profit organizations and now Google to ensure that knowledge is not lost.
For the next three years the site has funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Institute for Language Information and Technology and the University of Hawaii. That’s three years to generate the kind of excitement the project deserves, so that funders will come forward to ensure it continues.
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Photo 1 from Endangered Languages Web site; Photo 2 from promotional video
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