|Ethnobotanical notetaking for the DEL project Advances in |
Linguistic, Ethnobotanical, and Botanical Sciences through
Documentation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
Image Courtesy of the NEH.
Paula Wasley, of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has written an exciting and informative article about recent efforts by the National Endowment for the Humanites (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to digitally document and preserve nearly 40 endangered languages. Their goal is to "build research infrastructure, encourage long term collaboration with host countries and involve significant community engagement".
" “Language is a source of invaluable cognitive, historical and environmental information,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “Most of what is known about human communication and cognition is based on less than 10 percent of the world’s 7,000 languages. We must do our best to document living endangered languages and their associated cultural and scientific information before they disappear."
New estimates from a three-year, NSF-supported study conclude that at least every three months somewhere in the world a language loses all its remaining speakers. The finding, based on newly compiled data, is an update from previous estimates that found at least one language goes extinct every two weeks."