Internet 'may help save world's endangered languages'

Internet 'may help save world's endangered languages'

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the Internet may help save the world's endangered languages, including Ho from India, from extinction, according to linguists.

Some 3,500 of the world's 7,000 languages are expected to be extinct from use by the end of the century. Now, a team has unveiled eight "talking dictionaries" as part of a project to save thousands of ancient tongues on verge of extinction.

The lexicon featues Ho which is a Munda language of Austroasiatic language family spoken primarily in India by about 3,803,126 people. Written with the Devanagari and the Varang Kshiti scripts, it's spoken by Ho people. The script was founded and developed by pandit Dr Lako Bodra.

The digital dictionaries also feature 32,000 written words and, 24,000 audio recordings taken from native speakers from remote corners of the world, 'The Daily Telegraph' said.
David Harrison, from Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, project leader, said: "You can have a language spoken by only 50 or 500 people only in one location, and now through digital technology that language can achieve a global voice.

"Endangered language communities are adopting digital technology to aid their survival and to make their voices heard around the world. This is a positive effect of globalisation."

The talking dictionaries, an initiative from National Geographic Society, feature languages like Siletz Dee-in from Oregon and Matukar Panau, an Oceanic language from Papua New Guinea which has only 600 surviving speakers.

The Matukar Panau dictionary contains 3,045 entries, 3,035 audio files, and 67 images.
Other endangered languages include Chamacoco, from Paraguay's remote northern desert, Remo, Sora, and and Tuvan, from Siberia and Mongolia.