July 24, 2006

Preserving Languages

Fun podcast recently from Science Friday about"a plan to preserve dying languages before they disappear entirely. The National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Smithsonian institution are planning approximately $2 million in funding to fight the 'imminent death of an estimated half of the 6000-7000 currently used human languages.' "

Joe Palca interviewed D. Terence Langendoen, who has the fabulous title of "Director, Cyberinfrastructure / Co-Director, Linguistics Program / Division of Behavioral & Cognitive Sciences at the National Science Foundation." Read about some NSF linguistics & cog sci grants!

The show starts out with a guy speaking Dena'ina, and you can read about that language and hear the Dena'inan word of the day (a recent word was "hnalqin", which means "warm/hot"). You can browse over 200 sound recordings (sadly, you can't hear them); you can read a bit about the Dena'ina language; and you can see a map charting the Athabascan family of languages.


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