The tech giant has created a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about the 3,000+ languages around the world that are on the verge of extinction.
Google said on its blog that the project is “is an important step in preserving cultural diversity, honoring the knowledge of our elders and empowering our youth.” Google are encouraging people to create recordings on the website of these dying languages particularly if only elderly people are still speaking the dialects so that they may be preserved for posterity.
This way the project hopes to keep the language alive even after the last speakers have died. It cites the Miami-Illnois native American language as an example. The last native speakers died in the 1960’s but decades later a member of the tribe in Oklahoma taught himself the language from old manuscripts and managed to resurrect the native tongue amoung his family and friends.
The Endangered Languages Project, is backed by a new coalition, the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity, and Google hopes that experts in the field of language preservation will eventually take over the project and they are calling for volunteers to get involved.
In case you’re wondering our native tongue ‘Gaeilge’ or ‘Irish Gaelic’ is rated as ‘endangerd’ on the site. Total native speakers are estimated as less than 20,000 and the site says “some adults in the community are speakers, but the language is not spoken by children.”
The video below explains the project and full details can be found at http://www.endangeredlanguages.com