(BBC) Digital tools 'to save languages'

Facebook, YouTube and even texting will be the salvation of many of the world’s endangered languages, scientists believe.

Of the 7,000 or so languages spoken on Earth today, about half are expected to be extinct by the century’s end.

Globalisation is usually blamed, but some elements of the “modern world”, especially digital technology, are pushing back against the tide.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, History, Psychology, Science & Technology

One comment on “(BBC) Digital tools 'to save languages'

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Whether or not this prophecy is fulfilled, there is another way that the world’s endangered minority languages will at least be preserved in written form, and often in audio recordings as well: through Bible translations. Wycliffe Bible Translators and other missionary groups have provided an extremely valuable cultural service in the course of their translation work, by reducing hundreds of previously unwritten languages to writing, and by producing grammars and dictionaries and collections of folklore in the process of translating the Word of God into those (generally small) languages. Linguists and anthropologists, as well as minority peoples around the world will be forever endebted to Bible translators for their patient, careful work in making countless languages accessible to the whole world.

    For example, my father- and morther-in-law, Raymond and Marjorie Dubert, translated the NT into two completely unrelated languages in Papua New Guinea during their 42 years of serving the Lord through Wycliffe. As a result of their dedicated work, the Biangai and the Saposa tribes will have a permanent record of their ancestral languages, even if those languages eventually cease to be spoken some day. Already, the Biangai language is basically spoken only by the elderly. The younger generations all speak the national trade language (Neo-Melanesian, commonly called Pidgeon English) as their native tongue now, and the better educated speak English. With less than 10,000 speakers, Biangai is one of those small tribal languages that is probably doomed to disappear rather soon. But because of the faithful translation work of my in-laws, knowledge of that language won’t disappear when the last native speaker dies someday.

    David Handy+