Vanishing languages

Last week I wrote about Google’s Endangered Languages project. If you were wondering why it’s so important to save languages, there’s a great article in the National Geographic for you.

Written by Russ Rymer, the article asks the question “What is lost when a language goes silent?” An extract from the article:

Linguists have identified a host of language hotspots (analogous to biodiversity hotspots) that have both a high level of linguistic diversity and a high number of threatened languages. Many of these are in the world’s least reachable, and often least hospitable, places—like Arunachal Pradesh. Aka and its neighboring languages have been protected because Arunachal Pradesh has long been sealed off to outsiders as a restricted border region. Even other Indians are not allowed to cross into the region without federal permission, and so its fragile microcultures have been spared the intrusion of immigrant labor, modernization—and linguists. It has been described as a black hole of linguistics because its incredible language variety remains so little explored. (Source: National Geographic)