Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Technology to Preserve Languages on the Verge of Extinction

Credit: Ryan Red Corn (Osage)

There are many endangered languages in our collective linguistic radar. Some of them have been covered here before and some haven’t. In 2007, Joshua Hinson of Chickasaw heritage, identified that his language was one the brink of extinction. Rather than blaming technology as contributing source to language loss, Hinson embraced the opportunity to use technology to help save his language.

When Hinson saw that his ancestral Chickasaw language was disappearing, he decided to help build an online presence and create a smartphone app to make the language accessible.

Hinson used the internet to build an online presence for his tribe. This has been done before, as recently as in 2012 when Google embraced theEndangered Languages Project. Hinson almost a poured a decade into theChickasaw Language Revitalization Program, and by now knows enough Chickasaw to hold conversations as well as to read and write. As I understand it, at 32 years old, he is youngest member of the language to speak fluently, the next youngest member is 62.

Read the full article here.

Related reading: Dr. Nola Stephens on Linguistics and Faith

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