Endangered languages get a Google protection plan

Jul 18, 2012
Photo illustration shows a Native American member of the Navajo Code Talkers at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, DC in 2010. Google unveiled an online information exchange platform to try to give some extra lasting power to more than 3,000 endangered languages, including Navajo.

Google unveiled an online information exchange platform to try to give some extra lasting power to more than 3,000 endangered languages.

Called endangeredlanguages.com, it is out to help improve the exchange of digital source materials in languages spoken by small numbers of people, from Navajo in the United States, to Aragonese in Spain, to Koro in India and Burunge in Tanzania.

"It is an open, on-line platform where anybody can get on and start sharing materials in those languages which are in danger of being lost," said Miguel Alba, 's Mexico marketing chief.

"Today there are around 7,000 languages spoken around the world, but half of them are expected not to survive to the end of this century," Alba said.

It is hoped that the languages will get an extra dose of energy as users share texts, videos, photos and audio files.

"Generally languages that are threatened are being abandoned by their own speakers as they are not seen as positive and instead opt for another language seen as more economically or socially advantageous, said Francisco Barriga.

But if users see their languages reflected positively in world media they may start taking stock more seriously, of all that can be lost, Barriga said.

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google translates more India languages

Jun 21, 2011

Google on Tuesday expanded its free Internet translation service to include five languages spoken by more than a half million people in India and Bangladesh.

Endangered languages threaten to disappear, researcher says

Jan 29, 2007

Endangered animal and plant species regularly make the news, but another type of endangered species is often overlooked: human languages. A University of Missouri-Columbia researcher has dedicated much of her career to studying ...

'Talking dictionaries' document vanishing languages

Feb 17, 2012

Digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of the world's most endangered languages. Linguists from National Geographic's Enduring Voices project who are racing to document and revitalize struggling languages are ...

Language diversity will make London a true global player

May 10, 2012

Understanding linguistic diversity among London's schoolchildren is key for the city's future as a 'global player', research shows. A study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) mapped the distribution ...

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.