Google is starting the Endangered Languages Project as part of the company's charitable efforts to preserve languages in danger of extinction and as part of its overall mission to "organize the world's information."
Google is starting and seeding a project to
fight the extinction and loss of more than 3,000 endangered languages around
the globe to help preserve the history, cultures and knowledge of mankind.
The effort was announced today in a Google
blog post by Clara Rivera Rodriguez and Jason Rissman, two managers of the
Google says the new site can be used by
people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information
about endangered languages so that they don't disappear because they havent been
passed down to younger generations.
"Documenting the 3,000-plus languages
that are on the verge of extinction (about half of all languages in the world)
is an important step in preserving cultural diversity, honoring the knowledge
of our elders and empowering our youth," the blog post stated.
"Technology can strengthen these efforts by helping people create
high-quality recordings of their elders (often the last speakers of a
language), connecting diaspora communities through social media and facilitating
One example of an endangered language,
according to the post, is the Miami-Illinois language
which was once used heavily by Native American communities in what is now the
U.S. Midwest. The language is considered today to be extinct by some people,
with its latest fluent speakers dying in the 1960s, the post reported. It is
being revived slowly, though, through the efforts of one man.
"Decades later, Daryl Baldwin, a citizen
of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, began teaching himself the language from
historical manuscripts and now works with the Miami University in Ohio to
continue the work of revitalizing the
, publishing stories, audio files and other educational
materials," the post stated. "Miami children are once again learning
the language andeven more inspiringteaching it to each other. Daryls work is
just one example of the efforts being made to preserve and strengthen languages
that are on the brink of disappearing. "
In an interview, Rissman said Google unveiled
the project as part of its philanthropic efforts to help organize the world's
information and to make it more accessible to people everywhere.
"This is more than informationthis is
language" with roots in cultural history and customs, he said. "We
realize this is an urgent and global problem. We realize that some of our tools
might make a difference," including storage space, collaboration, connectivity
"YouTube is built into the site as a way to preserve content and as a