Jun 21, 2012
A new website was launched by the Internet search giant in an effort to save endangered languages spoken by the natives from vanishing forever. The project which dubbed as ‘The Endangered Languages Project’ aims to preserve cultural heritage by preserving ethic languages. Google hopes that by using technology as a tool, interested contributors can easily store their recordings in a database that is also accessible to anyone interested in preserving a particular dialect.
“Today we’re introducing something we hope will help [preserve languages on the brink of disappearing]: the Endangered Languages Project, a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about endangered languages” – Clara Rivera Rodriguez and Jason Rissman, project managers of Google’s Endangers Languages Project.
“Documenting the 3,000+ languages that are on the verge of extinction (about half of all languages in the world) is an important step in preserving cultural diversity, honouring the knowledge of our elders and empowering our youth. Technology can strengthen these efforts by helping people create high-quality recordings of their elders (often the last speakers of a language), connecting diaspora communities through social media and facilitating language learning.”
For this project to become successful, I think local government should take into active participation. Also this should be spearheaded by a specific government institution that is responsible in preserving our cultural heritage. Spoken languages of our elders represent our true identity and should be preserved for future generations to come. I also hope that Google will not use this database for their own language translation services.
After reading this news, the movie ‘Wind Talkers’ starred by Nicolas Cage flash in my mind. It’s a World War II story wherein Indians serving the US as soldiers operating the radio, exchanges information using their own native Indian language. In the end the group of soldiers under Nicolas Cage command won because the Japanese cannot understand the intercepted communication.