The Endangered Languages Project was launched today. The project is a collaboration between Google and the Indigenous Language Institute, as well as other members of the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity, and aims to provide an online resource to preserve endangered languages through sharing and allowing users to upload text and audio or video clips.
You can do your part to ensure your language is preserved by visiting the website for the project, www.endangeredlanguages.com, which has a map on its landing page with markers on each country for each endangered language. The UK, for example, has Polari listed, which is not a language in itself, but a form of slang used within English. New Zealand has only Maori listed as endangered. Australia, meanwhile, has a lot of red hotspots for endangered languages. When you click on a spot, the name of the language pops up, and when you click on this, you are taken to the homepage of that language, where you can submit and share documents and samples of the language.
A recent Sunday Star-Times reader poll suggested readers were pretty much equally divided on whether the money spent on preserving te reo Maori is worth it.
Professor Kenneth Rehg, an associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawai’i, was in New Zealand recently to speak about the death of languages at Victoria University. He said that his students look up to New Zealand’s efforts to preserve te reo, and that ambivalence is a worldwide issue when dealing with indigenous languages. He thinks that many people don’t acknowledge the obvious benefits of different languages.
“You see the same thing in many places where indigenous people and cultures have been run over. There is an unfortunate attitude from people coming from dominant cultures that they have nothing to learn from indigenous societies. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Source: Fairfax NZ News
A community in Queensland has set up an Indigenous LOTE (Languages Other Than English) learning program in order to preserve their language.
Citizens of the Aboriginal community of Woorabinda, inland of Rockhampton, are using technology to keep the language of Ghungalu alive. Only six Australians can speak the language fluently. The use of computer programs means that students can click on a word and hear the pronunciation, much like the technology Google Translate uses.
Chairman of the program, Shemmie Leisha, says that technology causes the language to evolve.
“We didn’t have mobile phones back in the day so a mobile phone to us would be a stick so ‘bunga’ is stick and ‘tudinar’ means to speak so we call a mobile phone today ‘bunga tudinar’. Our language is going to be starting to evolve with the progress of society.”
Source: ABC News
I hope everyone is enjoying the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend! Have you had your fill of street parties, Pimms, and the BBC’s horrible coverage of the events? Maybe you can celebrate in a different way… with some Royal style communication.
There is a new app for Android which converts your texts, emails and tweets to the Queen’s English. It’s called the Queen’s English, in case you were wondering. The language module, which works by processing known speech and then creating a database of words that the Queen might say, was built by British company SwiftKey. The research has unveiled some common occurrences in the Queen’s speech, which includes the avoidance of contractions and her tendency to maintain a positive tone.
The app is currently free for a one month trial.