Monday, June 25, 2012

Net: Google Sets Out to Save Languages

Did you know that a lot of languages die every day? That may not be one of the things you consider on a regular basis, but the fact is that languages stand for more than what people speak. They are part of people’s cultures, and the death of a language may also mean the death of a culture.

Google, the Internet giant that you either hate or love, seems to see the importance of languages – all 7,000 that are spoken worldwide today. Via its philanthropic branch,, the company is collaborating with other organizations such as the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and the Institute for Language Information and Technology (Eastern Michigan University). The goal? To help preserve languages.

In a nutshell, the Endangered Languages Project “is an online resource to record, access, and share samples of and research on endangered languages, as well as to share advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen languages under threat.”

Linguists and people who work in related fields will definitely find the Endangered Languages Project useful. With all the data available from a single online portal, work to preserve the languages that we still have will be so much easier and efficient. Being able to share resources will definitely hasten the process.

If you think about it, even the average person (read: not a linguist) can help further the cause of the Endangered Languages Project.You can create an account to pitch in and/or know more about the project.

With this move, Google must be scoring points, at least in some sectors. We all know just how the company has been getting flak for breaking its own “Do no evil” mantra, but it seems that this philanthropic move might help its image some. I, for one, would like to think that this is being done with pure intentions. What do you think?

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