It’s been estimated that by the year 2100 only 50% of today’s languages will be alive! Although it may seem like a long way to go, the pace at which the extinction of the languages is happening is rather alarming. We may not notice it at once but with the disappearance of every language an incredible cultural heritage is taken away from us. We lose a record of the way people live, communicate understand emotions as well as we are in big danger of losing the track of valuable general knowledge which has been build throughout the centuries.
However, help seems to be on the way; The Alliance for Linguistic Diversity and Google have joined forces to teach and preserve endangered languages by creating Endangered Languages Project. The website gives comprehensive information on endangered languages together with samples. But one of the most important things for users is the fact that they can play an active role in what languages appear on the website by providing their languages online. Users can do it by submitting information or samples in the format of text, audio or video files. To grow on the collaborative aspect of the project, users have also a chance to share best practices as well as case studies through a knowledge sharing section and by joining relevant Google Groups.
How to use the Endangered Languages Project with students? Ask students to prepare a project on the most and least endangered languages, what are the reasons for the languages to be in danger and if they are surprised by what they have found. Ask students to have a look at the projects which has been submitted and come up with their own language submission where they have to do recordings. Encourage students to contribute to the submitted projects in the Comments section; you can help students by preparing /revising the language needed to be used in their comments.