Listening To Languages – Enduring Voices

Songe Nimasow and friend Khandu Degio rap in the endangered Aka language of Arunachal Pradesh, India:

Here’s a unique project that is out to do some amazing work around the world. Enduring Voices Project is a project running since 2007 between National Geographic and the Living Tongues Institute For Endangered Languages. Its purpose is to document the languages from around the world that are in danger of becoming extinct. If you go to their YouTube channel, then you’ll be able to listen to the unique sounds of many of the languages that they’ve been able to document so far, as they’re spoken by the native speakers in songs, stories, and much more.

The stats on human languages are scary:

Every 14 days a language dies. By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth—many of them not yet recorded—may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain.

They’ve already succeeded in documenting the hotspots around the world where languages are in danger, and have recently unveiled their online talking dictionaries that let listeners learn the rudiments of these endangered languages. Considering that dominant languages push aside native languages on a daily basis, this is the type of project that needs to be protected so that we can remember, protect, and keep alive these ties to our past. What incredible and necessary work these men do!


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