1,000 Volunteers Are Helping Preserve the World’s Endangered Languages

By on March 23, 2020

Over 500 languages spoken on planet Earth are at risk of disappearing as native speakers adapt popular languages and discontinue using their original tongue. 

However, Daniel Bögre Udell has dispatched over 1,000 volunteers to help create an online library to preserve them all…

Wikitongues is the name of their project, which currently has more than 435 languages recorded from 70 countries. 

[photo from Wikitongues YouTube channel]

Anyone can volunteer to upload a video of a native language. The videos usually contain interviews with oral histories, which are simply stories about the person’s life.

Participants may use their mother tongue and talk about their language and culture, or they can talk about themselves. All of the video interviews are archived on the Wikitongue website.

[photo from Great Big Story.]

Daniel says, “Building an open archive of every language in the world is not just a way of ensuring that people today can promote and teach their languages to the next generation, it’s a way of ensuring that future generations can revive their languages even if they go extinct.”

With a massive increase of globalization, many cultures and mother tongues become marginalized. Wikitongues volunteers are taking a stand to create an accessible sustainable way to preserve many cultures, allowing peoples to reclaim their languages.

In partnership with the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, Wikitongues built a Language Sustainability Toolkit. This is a guide for individuals who want to learn and keep their native language alive.

Language activists around the world are seeing the dire need for preservation of the beautiful legacies our world’s cultures have embedded in language. Thank you, Daniel and everyone participating in the Wikitongue project for your hardwork and long-term vision!

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