"Think 22nd Century Linguistic Rights"

What Language Should a Nation Officially Call Its Own?


Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights
a statement that argues for the protection and encouragement of minority languages. The facts provided by the Educational CyberPlayGround expose the myth making in censored state sanctioned text books found in the classroom written by pedantic scholars and academics, who are part of the Education and Dictionary Indu$try $upply Chain that censors information and access.

ETHICS: Who owns the knowledge contained in secret languages?
Intellectual property - bodies of collective knowledge worked out and passed down over millennia. The threat of bio-prospecting. Companies will swoop in and (legally) steal traditional medicinal knowledge possessed by indigenous peoples, profiting handsomely while paying them no royalties whatsoever. Kallawaya is an excellent example of a language that could be patented for both its form and content, for the economic well-being of the community that invented it, and for protection against predatory pharmaceutical corporations that seek to exploit that knowledge without recompense.


Technology alone cannot save endangered languages.


From Threatened Languages to Threatened Lives Daniel L. Everett


Digital Technologies Give Dying Languages New Life 
As many as half the world's languages are at risk of disappearing by the end of the century. More aboriginal groups around the world, including Oregon's Siletz tribe, are using "talking dictionaries" and other digital tools to help preserve their native languages. There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues. Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, Athabaskan, "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them. "We had linguists that had come in and done assessments of our people and our language and they labeled it — I'll never forget this term — 'moribund,' meaning it was headed to the ash heap of history," Lane says.
The word translations are now available online, along with lesson plans, as part of a so-called "talking dictionary" hosted by Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Swarthmore linguistics professor David Harrison has also posted talking dictionaries for several other highly endangered languages from around the world at the site. Harrison and a colleague in Oregon have also mapped hotspots for endangered aboriginal languages. One such region is the Pacific Northwest. Tribal languages in Oklahoma and the American Southwest are also judged to be at risk of extinction.


"When Languages Die" author/linguist K. David Harrison
Informative conversation with K. David Harrison, assistant professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College near Philadelphia and the author of the new book "When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World's Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge". He is the Director of Research at the Living Tongues Institute and was recently featured in the documentary called "The Linguists" which followed hands-on linguistic field work in countries around the world. In this fascinating interview, Harrison discusses the critical importance of the world's many threatened languages and the vital knowledge that each language uniquely packages and holds for all of us. Harrison also discusses the need for more trained linguistic personnel to go out into some of the remotest parts of the world to document these nearly extinct languages before they are lost to humanity forever.