WIKITONGUES: SAVING THE WORLD’S DYING LANGUAGES

There are approximately 6,500 languages throughout the world at the present time. However, according to the United Nations, and to other bodies, approximately 50% of these will have disappeared over the next few decades. Here, the United Nations organizations, UNESCO, has delineated the languages that it considers as endangered, in its Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.

These languages are indeed in danger of death. That is, until technology. The current online revolution, not least of which is AI, is itself revolutionizing previously believed disasters, such as the disappearance of languages globally.

THere are however organizations with the intention of salvaging world languages. One such organization is Wikitongues, an organization that purports to provide the apparatuses needed to save all languages.

The Wikitongues organization operates under the premise and now quite univernsal understanding that, when a language disappears, many other elements also disappear, such as cultural knowledge, rituals, and survuval strategies ingrained into the culture.

As such, an underlying intention of the organization is to revitalize languages, and their accompanying heritages, through a collaboration between global people and the communities themselves.

The Wikitongues organization was elevated when it placed itself on a pubilc platform where the world was able to contribute to the gathering of language information, and the placing of this information on the website.

This work is largely managed by a community of people globally, each pocket of whom has a specific or general interest in language communities in respective geographical locations. Here, the data and corpus of languages is developed as videos uploaded to the Wikitongues website.

The website contains approximately 500 languages and varieties online, including English, Farsi, Mandarin, which are widely used, and also others such as Bora, which is narrowly spoken by fewer than ten thousand people, in the Amazon areas of Peru and Colombia.

Yet, despite the significant efforts of Wikitongues, and of other bodies, a minute amount of languages have been documented online, and possibly less than one percent. Yet, it is hoped that through such efforts, this amount can grow, to one where, possibly through technology, one day, all languages can be given space online and beyond.