National Geographic: Enduring Voices Project

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Nat GeoNearly 80 percent of the world’s population speaks only one percent of its languages. When the last speaker of a language dies, the world loses the knowledge that was contained in that language. The goal of the Enduring Voices Project is to document endangered languages and prevent language extinction by identifying the most crucial areas where languages are endangered and embarking on expeditions to:

  • Understand the geographic dimensions of language distribution
  • Determine how linguistic diversity is linked to biodiversity
  • Bring wide attention to the issue of language loss

When invited, the Enduring Voices Project assists indigenous communities in their efforts to revitalize and maintain their threatened languages.

The Language Hotspots model was conceived and developed by Dr. Greg Anderson and Dr. K. David Harrison at the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. It is a new way to view the distribution of global linguistic diversity, to assess the threat of language extinction, and to prioritize research. Hotspots are those regions of the world having the greatest linguistic diversity, the greatest language endangerment, and the least-studied languages.

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