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The Legacy Of Extinct Languages

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When we think of language today, much of the focus is on learning more than one. Take English for example: a language used widely around the word. What might not know, however, is that English, a relatively new language, is actually comprised of terminology, dialect and speech from thousands of other cultures, some of which are now extinct—such as Latin. Among the 196 countries around the globe, there are more than 6,700 languages—up to half of which are expected to fizzle out by the end of the 21st century. In fact, speech researchers estimate that since the European colonization of North America, more than 115 languages have become extinct, 20 of which disappearing within the 20th century. Remnants of some of the most relevant languages of their time, like Middle English, can still be seen today in ancient artifacts such as original prints of Chaucer's Robin Hood between 1200 and 1450 A.D. Yet when it comes to the expiration date for languages, not all life cycles are the same. "Extinct" languages die because there are no longer any native or secondary speakers keeping the vernacular alive, whereas a "dead" language may no longer be used in social or cultural contexts, but used exclusively for scientific and academic purposes.

So how to languages start, and what makes them burn out? Could prominent languages like English, French, German and Spanish as we know it ever expire? Learn more about the amazing history and complicated context of how older languages retire—and make comebacks.

01:10
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3,000 Languages May Be Extinct Within 100 Years - as part of the news series by GeoBeats. More than 6 thousand different languages are spoken in the world. But according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, about half of these languages are in danger of becoming extinct. There are many endangered languages in remote and urban locations where the younger population doesn't understand the importance of preserving the linguistic heritage of their ancestors or grandparents. The Linguistic Society of America estimates that "around a quarter of the world's languages have fewer than a thousand remaining speakers" and they agree with the estimate that up to three thousand endangered languages could be lost in the next hundred years, if current trends continue. But there are efforts being made by Rosetta-Stone and others to create a computer model for teaching some of these endangered languages, which may appeal to a younger generation immersed in technology. Their Endangered Languages Program model has been used for six endangered languages spoken by Native American tribes in the United States and Canada. Why do you think keeping endangered languages alive is important?
04:21
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In the age of mobile phones, the remaining "speakers" of a dying whistling language try to preserve a vital means of communication over vast distances.
01:11
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Computer algorithms could bring back dead languages. Language and computer experts from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada have developed a computer algorithm that can be used to build an understanding of dead languages. Using words from a current language, the system can determine how phonetic changes evolved over time.. The algorithm was applied to thousands of words across the Austronesian family of languages that include Fijian, Hawaiian and Tongan. The system displayed incredible accuracy, with more than 85 percent of the words being matched to within one character of the actual word. The new system might be able to improve computer translations of similar languages like French and Portuguese. Figuring out how ancient languages have changed over the course of history can help us better understand our ancient past. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, an estimated half of the more than 6 thousand languages that are spoken around the world will be extinct in the next hundred years. Along with the loss of languages, significant cultural traditions, and indigenous knowledge are also being threatened. What do you think? Is it important to preserve ancient or extinct languages?
01:09
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The world's most ancient language is currently being deciphered to help unravel a mystery. The most ancient written language system in the world that has not yet been deciphered is getting a closer look. Academic Scholars at Oxford University in England are studying the remnants of a writing system known as proto-Elamite that is over 5 thousand years old. The language originates from the region in the Middle East that now lies in the territory of southwestern Iran. Using a device called the Reflectance Transformation Imaging System for Ancient Documentary Artifacts, the researchers are intricately lighting and taking detailed pictures of the stone tablets in an effort to view markings not seen before, and uncover their hidden meaning. The hi-tech images of the tablets will be available online for other academic linguistic scholars to see, and posit theories about their possible meanings. Doctor Jacob Dahl of Oxford University has been fascinated with the carvings for a decade, and is looking forward to a breakthrough. He has discovered that there are no human representations used in the written language, and that this may be the first language to use syllable structure to build words, rather than having a symbol for each word.
09:27
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Tweet this video! - http://clicktotweet.com/p7840 Countries around the world may boast of languages inherent to them alone, but the fact remains that if they do not do something about their own endangered languages, they may quietly go into extinction. There are many reasons why a certain language became endangered. It may be because the population who speaks the language is in physical danger due to natural disasters, war, and genocide but it can also be because the speakers are prevented from speaking the language due to political repression or cultural hegemony. Whatever the reason these are the 25 most endangered languages in the world. https://twitter.com/list25 https://www.facebook.com/list25 http://list25.com Check out the text version too! - http://list25.com/25-most-endangered-languages-in-the-world Here's a preview: Ainu Apiaka Bikya Chamicuro Chemehuevi Dumi Dusner Kaixana Kansa Lemerig Njerep Ongota Patwin Pazeh Puelche Qawasqar Tanema Taushiro Tinigua Tolowa Vilela Volow Wintu-Nomlaki Yaghan Yarawi
01:02
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United nations, 19 February 2009 - Daily Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. More than 200 languages have recently become extinct.  According to a new atlas launched by UNESCO among the extinct languages are Manx from the Isle of Man, Asax form Tanzania, and Eyaka from Alaska. This is a concern as the death of a language leads to the disappearance of many forms  of cultural heritage. Related links: UNESCO:  http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=44605&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html News story:  http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=29950&Cr=unesco&Cr1= View the entire briefing (Real Media, 22 minutes): http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/pressbriefing/2009/brief090219.rm
05:27
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Language can be an obstruction in art. There are limits to expression -- like how the Klingon language has no word for "hello" but at least three for "fight." Naturally, some enterprising musicians have avoided this problem by just creating their own. Subscribe for new episodes every Thursday: http://bit.ly/19jUASK Daily news, interviews, and more: http://www.aux.tv/ FREE AUX MAGAZINE (APPLE): https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/aux-magazine/id528705727?mt=8 FREE AUX MAGAZINE (ANDROID): https://play.google.com/store/magazines/details/AUX_Magazine?id=CAowtd6iAg SOCIAL MEDIA Twitter: https://twitter.com/samsthrlnd Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whoathisexists
02:50
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Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2010/11/07/Wonderfest_2010_How_Did_Evolution_Shape_Human_Behavior David DeGusta, Research Paleontologist at the Paleoanthropology Institute, discusses how archaeologists are able to study the origins of human language through the archaeological record. He theorizes that language may have emerged around 50,000 years ago, and could be what helped modern humans triumph over the Neanderthals. ----- This program was recorded at the 12th Annual Wonderfest, the San Francisco Bay Area Festival of Science. Wonderfest's broad goals are best described by its mission statement: Through public discourse about provocative scientific questions, Wonderfest aspires to stimulate curiosity, promote careful reasoning, challenge unexamined beliefs, and encourage life-long learning. Wonderfest achieves these ends by presenting series of scientific events to the general public. At most of these events, pairs of articulate and accomplished researchers discuss and debate compelling questions at the edge of scientific understanding. - Wonderfest 2010 David DeGusta is a Research Paleontologist at the Paleoanthropology Institute.
47:19
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Dr Nicholas Ostler argues for the preservation of the world's endangered languages, considering historical examples of threatened languages that have been wiped out (like Gaulish) and those that have been rescued from extinction (such as Basque). The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the full conference's page on the Gresham College website: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/symposium-rare-and-endangered-languages Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. http://www.gresham.ac.uk