The Endangered Languages Project

Language experts estimate that only 50% of the languages spoken today will still be spoken in 2100. Languages are disappearing at an alarming rate. The Endangered Languages Project is an online resource to research, record, access and share information about endangered languages. It also encourages and supports working to document and fortify these threatened languages.

When a language is threatened, the loss of valuable scientific, social and cultural information is also threatened, very comparable to the loss of a species. Every time a language dies, we lose quite a bit: the understanding of how humans relate to the world; scientific and medical knowledge; the expression of a community’s life and a vast cultural heritage.

With the Endangered Languages Project, contributors can upload relevant information about dying languages to the website and reach many different people on many different levels.

While Google oversaw the development and launch of this project (and with its technology, recruited the services of organizations and individuals working to prevent language endangerment in various ways), but the goal, long term, is for it to be led by true linguists and leaders in the field of language conservation and preservation. The project will soon transition to others groups at Eastern Michigan University.

Some of the endangered languages include Aragonese (a type of Catalan spoken in Eastern Aragon), Koro (spoken in the northeast mountains of India), Navajo and Southwestern Ojibwa (spoken in parts of the US and Canada).